Las Vegas Tightens New Year's Eve Security, Including Use of Snipers

Three months after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, Las Vegas is amping up security measures for its New Year's Eve celebration, including snipers, extra K9 units and an unprecedented number of police officers and soldiers.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will have every officer on the force working on New Year's Eve, while the Nevada National Guard is activating more than 350 soldiers and airmen after lawmakers earlier this month approved tripling the state funding for security measures at the annual America's Party celebration.

The federal government is also sending dozens of personnel to assist with intelligence gathering and other efforts.

"I'm confident every available resource is being used to make sure this New Year's Eve will be safe," Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said during a news conference Wednesday.

He added that the security measures were not a direct result of October's mass shooting that killed 58 and left hundreds others injured during the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

Lombardo said the assistance will include intelligence personnel who will analyze social media and other information, medical technicians and helicopters. He added that no specific threat to the end-of-year festivities has been discovered. In addition to spotters, snipers will be posted on city's rooftops for the first time during the New Year's Eve celebration.

Multiple quick-response teams will be ready to deploy in the event of a critical incident, according to the sheriff, as well as more medical personal, K9 units and air assets.

Buses and other large vehicles will block key intersections to try to prevent anyone from plowing onto crowds.

Party-goers will be prohibited from bringing glass bottles and coolers, strollers, large bags, backpacks or luggage of any kind to the strip.

Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said crews have installed nearly 800 steel posts known as bollards along the strip, which are capable of withstanding a head-on collision from a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling at 50mph. The county plans to install an additional 7,500.


Tourism officials are expecting about 330,000 visitors to come to Las Vegas for the festivities on and around the Vegas strip that are anchored by an eight-minute firework display at the top of seven of the casino-hotels. The show will start 10 seconds before midnight on Sunday at the Stratosphere, with other firing locations being the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.

Vegas isn't the only city beefing up security; Pasadena officials announced that the Rose Parade is adding federal agents, state police, Pasadena police and police from nearby departments to its parade route on New Year's Day.