Local police prepare early to keep shoppers, purchases safe on Black Friday


by Laura Hettiger / News 4


Posted on November 21, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 21 at 11:12 AM

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KMOV) -- The Friday after Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl of shopping days in America. Just like football teams prepare for months to make it to sports’ biggest stage, local police departments are now in the fine-tuning stages of getting ready for their Black Friday patrols.

“Black Friday is no surprise to us,” Chesterfield Police Captain Steve Lewis said.  “The addition of the extended shopping hours and the ability to shop in our community is also not a surprise.”

According to Lewis, Chesterfield officers started discussing Black Friday during the summer. He promises an increased police presence at all the malls and big box stores throughout the valley.

Luckily for taxpayers, the increased presence does not come as an added expense.  Chesterfield police changed the officers’ schedules and days off to accommodate the surge of activity this Friday.

“That’s an expectation we have so we just make changes and accommodate for security,” Lewis said.

Yet those familiar with Black Friday in West County might remember the drama that ensued after last year’s Black Friday: nine stores received citations for opening too early.

Do not expect that to happen this year.

“What we’ve done is notify those stores and businesses they can apply for a permit at no cost to open during those times and to our knowledge all stores have complied,” Lewis said. “Any store that has decided to be open has already been permitted and approved.”

Chesterfield City Council approved an ordinance earlier this year to allow stores to open early on Thanksgiving and the day after.

This way, police will focus on enforcing security instead of ticketing businesses.

“One of the big main focuses is to allow our businesses to compete with every other business,” Lewis said. “I think it’s well received by everyone involved and I think this year it will be well received by the shoppers as well.”