Indio police Saturday reminded people planning to attend this weekend’s Coachella Music & Arts Festival to ensure their desert experience doesn’t include extended interaction with law enforcement.
“People just love it, and it’s their Disneyland,” Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron said. “I mean it’s a beautiful event. And, they make a poor choice — or they are with someone who made a poor choice — and then they are stuck spending time with us.
“… Don’t make it an experience with the police. Make it a positive experience at the festival,” he said.
Indio has hosted the event since it began in 1993 when Pearl Jam, at the height of its grunge rock fame, was battling what it considered “price gouging” by Ticketmaster. Since that time, the number of attendees has skyrocketed from a modest 25,000 to 250,000 people.
As such, Indio police are in the unique position of tending to a “city within a city,” Guitron said. But he said police service to residents will not be decreased or interrupted during the two-weekend Coachella festival period.
Guitron urged out-of-towners to keep an eye on the Indio police Facebook and Twitter pages for traffic and safety tips. He also reminded people to keep track of their cell phones and “take advantage of the apps that help locate your phone, the apps for security that lock your phones — your thumbprint or your passcode.”
“Nowadays, most people have more than just a directory. They have personal credit card information and accounts,” he said.
People should also ensure their phones have enough battery power to last through the day in case there is an emergency or they have to contact friends or get a much-needed ride. He also advised people to always lock their vehicles and campsites.
People who lose items during the festival can check the Lost and Found area.
Indio police suggest using the department’s website to report missing items if something is lost away from the festival grounds in Indio.
“If they are staying at a hotel, or a rental or a home in the city, they’ll need to contact the police department,” according to Guitron. “But, at the same time, they can do it online. And, that helps us.”
People can access the Indio police online services at www.indio.org/your_government/police/default.htm .
Any items lost outside the city of Indio, should be reported to the respective city’s police agency.