Coachella: Police are prepared for everything since San Bernardino terror attack

Cathedral City police officers keep an eye on the crowds of festivalgoers at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2015.

Cathedral City police officers keep an eye on the crowds of festivalgoers at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2015.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Following deadly terror attacks on civilians in Brussels, Paris and San Bernardino, local and federal authorities say they have heightened security at Southern California’s biggest music gathering: the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

“You can be assured that in the preparation and planning for this event, we have considered every eventuality,” Indio Police Sgt. Dan Marshall said. “We are confident we have enough resources to respond to any situation during the festival.”

Coachella may not rank on the Department of Homeland Security’s list of top soft targets, but the two-weekend event is anticipated to draw roughly 100,000 people to the desert community.

Wary of potential lone-wolf attacks, Indio police say they are working with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security, the FBI and state law enforcement. They will be a visible presence in and around the Empire Polo Club officials said.


Marshall declined to provide specifics on the enhanced security and surveillance, but noted that officials also will rely on festivalgoers themselves for information. Attendees, Marshall said, are the eyes and ears of the community and should immediately report anything they see that looks suspicious.

There is an extensive list of festival rules, but Marshall said police have a list of four top don’ts: Don’t bring drugs, don’t bring drones, don’t bring weapons and don’t bring animals.

“Leave the cockatoo at home,” Marshall said.

Marshall said that the no-drugs edict included medical marijuana, adding that there will be amnesty bins to dispose of contraband.


The sergeant said the festival is set for a perfect first weekend. “The winds right now are dying down, and the venue is just as beautiful as can be.”

Text the word COACHELLA to 888777 to receive official safety, traffic and weather updates from Indio Police.

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