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New York police will use a drone to monitor tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations

Times Square

There'll be something new soaring among the fireworks over Times Square during tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations: a police drone.

According to The Associated Press, cops plan to use a quadcopter to keep an eye on partygoers and help them respond to any trouble before it gets out of hand. It's the first time a drone has been used this way during the festivities.

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Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on Times Square to ring in 2019. Law enforcement officers aren't expecting any particular trouble, but the drone will give them an extra view of the action should anything untoward take place.

“That’s going to give us a visual aid and the flexibility of being able to move a camera to a certain spot with great rapidity through a tremendous crowd,” said John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.

A drone roaming freely in the dark could be dangerous, so the New York Police Department's craft will be tethered safely to a building and will never fly directly over the crowd. 

“Once it’s up in the air, it will probably be hard to see,” said the NYPD's chief of department Terence Monahan.