Indio police crack down on misuse of disabled placards and other Coachella issues

INDIO, Calif.- - Police officers in Indio are cracking down on two big issues, drug use, and parking, especially when it comes to the use of disabled parking placards at Coachella.

Roadblocks and police cars are usual sights just outside of the Coachella festival grounds in Indio all meant to make festival-goers safe.

“I can't imagine getting in if you didn't have a ticket so it's good, you know? It feels safe,” Quinn Alfaro, traveling from San Francisco, said.

According to statistics from Indio police weekend one of Coachella had fewer issues than last year with arrests down 15 percent, the majority of them for drug or alcohol intoxication. Officers say they credit local outreach.

“All of it contributes to the education and awareness from the promoter and also the city police department,” Ben Guitron, public information officers for the Indio Police Department, said.

One thing police are cracking down on are the misuse of disabled placards. Officers say 42 people were cited for unlawfully using them during weekend one and taking away spaces from those who truly need it.

“If you don’t have that privilege please don’t park in it. If you do, you’re being subjected to be contacted by a law enforcement representative doing enforcement for parking and asking you for the proper credentials to have that place card,” Guitron said.

Festival-goers say they don't condone that type of behavior.

“I could see a lot of people trying to do that but that's horrible. No. We're not doing that,” Carolina Melchior, traveling from Brazil, said.

“It's a convenient thing, but it's not awesome because handicap people should be able to access handicap spaces,” Simon Hoffman, traveling from Vermont, said.

The weekend also brings awareness that marijuana use is illegal with 4-20 falling during the festival, and officers want to remind people it's not allowed on festival grounds.

"Law enforcement will take action as needed based on what they see and what's reported to them,” Guitron said.

Officers are asking people to stay safe and well-behaved.

“Enjoy the festival, don't spend time with the police department,” Guitron said.

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