NEW YORK - The New York City Police Department is providing officers with specialized training to stop suicide bombers at Sunday's New Year's Eve celebration, when up to 2 million people are expected to flood the streets in and around Times Square, officials said on Thursday.
The stepped-up training is in response to an attempted bombing in a Times Square subway station walkway on Dec. 11, and comes on top of increasingly stringent security for the city's New Year's Eve celebration in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, airplane attacks.
This year, the NYPD will issue a tactical bulletin and training video to all officers involved in the security operation. It will be available via NYPD-issued phones starting Friday.
"We owe it to the cops to give them some kind of guidelines," the NYPD's chief of counterterrorism, James Waters, told a news conference, two days before the annual dropping of the New Year's ball at the famed mid-Manhattan crossroads.
The video and bulletin will include instructions on protecting bystanders if officers suspect someone has a bomb and guidance on apprehending and disarming suspects with the assistance of the bomb squad, he said.
Police have said they will incorporate lessons learned from what they have labeled as three terrorist attacks in the city in the past 15 months, in addition to their ongoing analysis of all attacks worldwide.
The most recent of the attacks in New York occurred 17 days ago, when police said a Bangladeshi man set off a homemade pipe bomb strapped to his body in an underground walkway in the subway station below Times Square, wounding himself and two bystanders.