Black Thursday? Police prepare for shopping rush in Trumbull

With Black Friday deals now seeping into the Thanksgiving holiday, Trumbull Police are preparing to handle the lines and crowds expected at stores like Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s and the Westfield Trumbull Mall this week.

“The worst thing that we want to avoid is that rush in the front door,” Deputy Chief Glenn Byrnes said of stores opening. “Luckily, the bigger stores, that know if they have a hot item, will use a ticketing system ahead of time, so it’s already predetermined who gets in first.”

Byrnes said there have been minor incidents through the years, like pushing and shoving, even in the stores.

The challenge in preparing is the changing store hours each year. This year, the mall and stores like Target, Kohl’s and Best Buy are opening Thursday evening, many around 8 p.m. Stores like Best Buy usually have people lined up Thanksgiving Day, but police will be monitoring retail areas in case the lines start earlier this year.

“This is unusual, hours keep getting moved back into the holiday,” Byrnes said. “Most of it started around midnight last year, which avoided that early morning rush at 4 or 5 a.m. — that was a safety concern we would work to avoid.”

Trumbull Police Department will have roughly double the regular number patrol officers on duty, Byrnes said, and many stores hire off-duty officers and police cars to provide additional presence.

“Since the mall is such a large facility we’re going to have a presence down there, in addition to officers hired by the stores,” Byrnes said.

With so many large retailers in Trumbull it may not be the most relaxing holiday for officers.

“We’ve gotten used to this,” Byrnes said of the shopping event. “We want to make sure nobody gets hurt.”