Drones

Cops Will Use Drones to Monitor Traffic at Coachella

"We want people to come here and have a good time and to feel safe."

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Maureen.gi | Wikimedia Commons

In response to the mass casualty shootings at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas and the Bataclan in Paris, law enforcement and event organizers across the U.S. are considering new steps to secure mass events. As part of that, the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will use drones as part of the event's security protocol.

The drones will not be used to track people or monitor crowds, says Indio Police Sergeant Dan Marshall. Rather the drones will be used to briefly monitor traffic, a top concern of police.

"This year Coachella is so big and expansive that we have outlying intersections that we can't get to rapidly," Marshall told Reason. Drones may help police more easily locate and address traffic backup, but they will not be used to "hover over crowds," he said.

Alex Netto, marketing director of Dronefly, told Reason the company is seeing an "increase in using drones for monitoring public events."

While the secruity precautions at Coachella might not be as Orwellian as TMZ originally reported, security at the event is expected to be strong. According to Marshall, there will be a "large law enforcement presence on the ground," and visual demonstrations will be used to educate concert goers about their surroundings.

"We want people to come here and have a good time and to feel safe," Marshall said. "We want people to get to know the venue and know where the emergency exits are—to know where to go and know how to get out."Coachella is one of the largest music festivals in the U.S. Roughly 198,000 people attended last year.

Police forces across the U.S. have added drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to their surveillance arsenals. According to a report by The Center for Study of the Drone by Bard College, at least 347 state and local police, sheriff, fire, and emergency units in the U.S. have acquired drones. Out of the 347 units, 121 are sheriffs offices and 96 are police departments. According to data Bard gathered from the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 18 states require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before using a drone for surveillance or a search. North Dakota is the only state that allows its police force to use weaponized drones.

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  1. The Coachella festival takes place on basically the surface of the Sun, so good luck keeping those drones from overheating.

  2. I always feel safer when doing massive quantities of illicit drugs at a festival under the watchful eyes of police drones.

  3. “In response to the mass casualty shootings at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas and the Bataclan in Paris, law enforcement and event organizers across the U.S. are considering new steps to secure mass events… the drones will be used to briefly monitor traffic, a top concern of police.”

    So traffic congestion is responsible for Las Vegas and Bataclan?

    1. You don’t know their motivations. Maybe it was bumper-to-bumper that sent them over the edge.

  4. “According to data Bard gathered from the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 18 states require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before using a drone for surveillance or a search.”

    Correction… the 4th amendment requires 50 states to obtain a search warrant before using a drone.

    1. Correction… 18 states give good defense lawyers an opportunity to exclude illegally acquired evidence. Requiring a warrant doesn’t mean the cops will actually follow the law. It’s not like they’ll face charges for their crimes.

      1. Plus, drones weren’t in use at the time of the founding. The 4th amendment only protects us from searches using magnifying glasses from local magistrates and/or clergymen.

        1. There’s nothing unreasonable about being watched by government drones hovering overhead. Nobody really expects that much privacy. Besides, if you’ve got nothing to hide then you’ve got nothing to worry about.

        2. And the occasional super-smart Belgian or old lady.

  5. This sounds like a recipe for more prison rape.

    1. *runs to kitchen, looks for ingredients*

      Damn, I’m all out of cumin.

      1. I think there’s a pill you can take for that.

  6. The drones will not be used to track people or monitor crowds

    However, the cameras on the drones will be.

  7. And I’ll bet the attendees at Coachella are applauding the cops’ efforts to create a safe space.

  8. Wasn’t that cop killer in Texas killed by some sort of robot?

    1. A bomb disposal robot, IIRC.

    2. It was in my home city of Dallas, and yes. They somewhat ironically put a bomb on a bomb defusing drone and detonated the guy.

  9. “visual demonstrations will be used to educate concert goers about their surroundings”

    Nothing Orwellian about that. I can’t help but hear that line in the voice of the Big Brother from 1984.

    “You are the dead. Remain exactly where you are. Make no move until you are ordered.” Visual demonstrations will be used to educate you about your surroundings.

  10. …they will not be used to “hover over crowds,” he said.

    No hovering, just flying back and forth looking for contraband.

  11. North Dakota is the only state that allows its police force to use weaponized drones.

    Then the drone’s weapon discharged….

  12. “We want people to come here and have a good time and to feel safe.”

    Is this irony, or the spoon thing?

  13. Bell & Howell should setup a tent and sell Tac Lights. A good flash light blinds the camera. Oh, wait. Trump tariffs forced flash light makers out business.

  14. At the very least they should get some good footage for Porn Hub.

  15. Itu di kota asal saya di Dallas, dan ya. Mereka agak ironis meletakkan bom di bom yang menjinakkan pesawat tak berawak dan meledakkan orang itu.

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