November 24, 2016 9:00 AM
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A giant Charlie Brown balloon is joining 1,000 clowns and a dozen marching bands along a parade route lined with spectators and police in plainclothes for the 90th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The parade kicked off in Midtown at 9 a.m., with 3.5 million spectators lining the streets to check out the grand procession.
While spectators relax, revel in the excitement watch the show unfold, police will be working overtime.
A total of 82 city sanitation trucks filled with sand and salt are being used at intersections and other strategic spots along the parade route to create an imposing physical barrier to terror. The trucks weigh about 16 tons empty, and up to twice that with sand.
While the trucks have been used like this before, most recently to protect Trump Tower, police say they will play a bigger role at this year’s parade in the wake of the Bastille Day cargo truck attack in Nice, France, that killed more than 80 people, as well as a recent posting in an English-language Islamic State magazine that called the parade “an excellent target.”
Helicopters will be flying high above the balloons, with more than 3,000 police officers on duty — some heavily armed — making their presence known on the ground.
The NYPD Counterterrorism Critical Response Command units will also be in place, with eight vapor wave dogs trained to detect explosives.
“We look at everything that’s transpired since the last parade, we take that into consideration and we build our counter terrorism protection around that,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said.
As for the parade participants, Macy’s has been working closely with the NYPD to ensure everyone has been properly screened.
Police said there are no credible threats targeting the parade or New York City. But they are also taking precautions that have never done before.
Stay with CBSNewYork.com for continuing coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
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