New Equipment Helps Buffalo Police Oversee Chippewa

November 21, 2012 Updated Nov 21, 2012 at 7:20 PM EDT

By WKBW News
By Rachel Elzufon

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November 21, 2012 Updated Nov 21, 2012 at 7:20 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The night before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest nights for bars in the Chippewa District in downtown Buffalo.

That means it's also a big night for police. However, a new piece of equipment will help the Queen City's Finest keep the streets calm.

From 30 feet up in the air, Buffalo Police say the SkyWatch will give them a bird's eye view of the area -- helping them keep everyone safe Thanksgiving Eve.

Mayor Byron Brown explains "It allows us to be able to see in various directions. The cameras have amazing clarity and it's an expansion of our police camera surveillance system."

Buffalo police got SkyWatch just in time for the holidays.

Police are also ramping up patrols from Thanksgiving Eve through New Years Day.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says "We want people to come down to the city, shop, come for entertainment to restaurants. Feel safe, police will be there in full force."

Buffalo Police bought the SkyWatch using funds from the Department of Homeland Security.

It is also used by Border Patrol on the U.S.-Mexican border and in New York City when the ball drops New Year's Eve.

Buffalo police now plan to use it during festivals and major events throughout the year.

Police also announced a multi-agency, undercover operation to crack down on underage drinking, which they say is a major problem in Buffalo.

Law enforcement teamed up with young college students, visiting thirteen local bars. Five of those bars either did not check identification, or gave them alcohol despite being underage.

Captain Steven Graap, with the New York State Police, says "arrests were made, and these individuals will be charged with a misdemeanor of unlawfully dealing with a child and alcohol control violations."

Police say they will keep cracking down on underage drinking during and after the holidays.

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