Surveillance Drones to Be Part of Coachella 2018 Security System

Law enforcement is increasing preventative measures at this year's Coachella music festival by adding camera drones to the event's security system.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

The Las Vegas shooting in October of last year has caused massive ripple effects. It has fueled much of the ongoing gun-regulation discussion, the mental health conditions of potential perpetrators, and added to the conversation regarding unmanned aerial vehicles as a security element at large-scale events. Since the Route 91 Harvest festival at which Stephen Paddock opened fire on innocent civilians was a music festival, it only makes sense for event organizers thereafter to consider ramping up their preventative measures. In this particular case, it’s next month’s Coachella 2018 music festival that will serve as an example, as organizers are planning on implementing unmanned aerial vehicles as part of the event’s security forces.

According to TMZ, local law enforcement is apprehensive about letting this year’s Coachella festival unfold as usual as if this country didn’t just witness the largest mass-shooting in history. First responders will reportedly be prepared with tourniquets and other medical equipment intended to prevent massive blood loss. In addition, authorities intend to add drones as part of the increased surveillance system that concertgoers will see this year. Law enforcement reportedly told TMZ that “an abundance of caution” has led to the decision. Frankly, it’s a pretty bleak time in American history when people can’t see an artist perform without the fear of somebody shooting into the crowd, and that flying robots have to be deployed to prevent tragic scenarios like that from occurring, but that’s where we are now. 

The idea to deploy one or multiple drones above a massive music festival, in order to more accurately surveil the audience for potential threats, just makes logical, affordable, and practical sense these days. Soon after the Las Vegas incident, terrorism experts and authorities vocalized their professional opinions on drone-use post-emergency events, and how beneficial it would be to apprehend suspects more rapidly, and in a safer manner. We’ve seen law enforcement across the country clamor for UAV equipment over the past few months, as the tool can keep officers from harm’s way while providing invaluable data to those on the ground. 

It is unclear what kind of drones, how many, or how frequently they’ll be flown above the crowds at the event, which starts on Friday, April 13, but the decision has reportedly been made. The everlasting discussion pitting privacy and security priorities against each other continues. In the current cultural climate of the United States, it makes sense for these measures to be taken. Stay safe, and enjoy the music.