DC region ready for New Year's Eve celebrations
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A lot of New Year's Eve celebrations are scheduled across the region and public safety officials are working to keep revelers safe this weekend.
Old Town Alexandria is all decked out for the holiday and ready to ring in the new year as the city will hold its annual First Night Alexandria celebration and firework show.
There will many family-friendly ticketed events held throughout Saturday as many businesses and buildings will turn into venues for local area performers while the fireworks are set to go off at midnight.
However, if you are planning to drive to Old Town Alexandria, be aware that some of the smaller streets may be closed to traffic.
There will also be a lot going on across the Potomac River at National Harbor. If you plan to visit the new MGM National Harbor casino and resort, you will need to have purchased tickets already. The resort was selling $75 tickets per person for its New Year's Eve event, which is now sold out. Those with hotel or restaurant reservations or tickets to the Duran Duran concert will be allowed access to the complex.
To keep things running smoothly, Prince George's County police said they are beefing up their already strong patrol presence. MGM said it is also prepared.
"I can promise you this is the safest location in the entire city and that's saying something in Washington D.C.," said Patrick Fisher, executive director of hotel operations for MGM National Harbor. "There are well over 3,000 cameras on site and an experienced staff always looking to take proactive measures making sure that guest experiences are always first and foremost."
Across the D.C. region, police will be cracking down on drunk drivers. A brand new mobile breathalyzer unit will be out in force and is a joint initiative between the Maryland Department of Transportation and Maryland State Police.
The unit will help officers test and arrest drunk drivers at DUI checkpoints across the state.
In Arlington County, police are also trying to get the word out.
"Don't make the mistake of not having a plan," said Arlington County Police Capt. Bruce Benson. "If you do drive drunk, we will have extra patrol officers out there looking for intoxicated or drunk drivers. So the chances of you getting caught are heightened. We will also have officers out in the bar districts to make sure everybody is safe and having a good time for the new year."
For one night only, Metro will be staying open late until 3 a.m. and rides will be free after midnight.
If you don't have a safe way home, you can take advantage of the SoberRide program by calling 1-800-200-TAXI. Free rides home on fares up to $30 will be available 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have warned about an ISIS threat on churches nationwide over the holiday season. D.C. police said they don't provide details about security operations, but they are always actively monitoring threats. They also remind people that if you see something, say something.