The impact of the bombings at the Boston Marathon is being felt all the way in the Coachella Valley. It's changing the way police departments are approaching safety at major events this next week. Tens of thousands of music fans are expected to attend the second weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts festival. The recent events in Boston drew concern about the security at the event. Joe Fleming and Chris May are visiting for the first time from Australia. After watching the gruesome scene from Boston, they are worried about their safety. "Obviously with the big crowds, we're definitely concerned," said Fleming. "You never know what's going to happen. It's a fear of ours that something could happen."
They're not alone. The Indio police department went on high alert after the explosions hit the dense areas near the finish line. Similar to the crowds they expect for Coachella. Police spokesman Ben Guitron says he wants his officers to be extra vigilant. "We're going to obviously be very aware and very informative with our staff," said Guitron. "We're obviously going to be talking to the promoters, and working with their security staff."
Currently, the Coachella festival has big checks but no metal detectors. While the officers will exercise more caution, this is nothing new. Guitron says his officers always train and prepare for the worst-case scenario at these major events. "It's always concerning to us, not just because of this event," said Guitron. "It's always something that's been in the back of our minds as we plan these events.
The safety concerns aren't exclusive to Indio. Set up continues in Palm Springs for Tachevah, a block party also put on by Coachella promoter Goldenvoice. The city also prepares to celebrates its 75th anniversary with the mayor's race and wellness festival. It all means big crowds for police to keep an eye on. "We're upping our security, we're taking adequate additional precautions for each event," said Palm Springs police Lieutenant Mike Kovaleff. "And we're going to be upping our staffing at each one, behind the scenes to make sure both events go safely."
Even with the increase in patrols, both Kovaleff and Guitron continue to encourage people to be on the lookout and help keep their communities safe. "it's a city within a city unfortunately," said Guitron. "We would love to be able to say, nothing is ever going to happen, it's going to be 100% safe. But the only way we can even come close to that is not only law enforcement, but the public's assistance to be able to work together."
Goldenvoice did not have an official comment.