Police Prepare for Bars Busiest Night

November 22, 2012 Updated Nov 22, 2012 at 12:44 AM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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November 22, 2012 Updated Nov 22, 2012 at 12:44 AM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - It's the busiest night of the year for bars on Chippewa Street -- the night before Thanksgiving. Thousands are expected to crowd downtown Buffalo.

Police are employing a new tool to keep bar patrons safe.

Bartenders say they do not expect the crowds to really start showing up until later in the night. In Buffalo, people often head downtown later because many bars close at four in the morning.

Police were hard at work all day preparing for Thanksgiving Eve.

Almost all of Chippewa Street was blocked off for vehicles. Officers were busy putting up gates to keep people on the sidewalks. Vehicles that park on the street will get towed.

At the corner of Chippewa and Delaware sat Buffalo's newest piece of equipment -- the SkyWatch.

The SkyWatch goes 30 feet up in the air. It seats two police officers and cameras capture six different views of downtown.

Commissioner Daniel Derenda says "It gives the officers the ability to zoom in hundreds of yards away, crystal clear. It also gives the ability to our camera room to use these cameras also."

Patrons have mixed feelings. Alan Swan says it is "probably in the best interest of everybody to have it out there and make sure everyone has a good time."

However, Fred Stano said "I think foot patrol does a better job. I don't think we need a cage up in the air."

Law enforcement also just had its first undercover crackdown on underage drinking in Buffalo -- something they plan to keep doing.

Expect to keep seeing security and an increase presence of police downtown. The Buffalo Police Department is ramping up security through New Year's Day.