An off-duty South Portland police officer will be watching over the line forming outside Best Buy before its midnight opening, said South Portland police Lt. Todd Bernard.

“Last year they hired (an off-duty officer) after the store opened at midnight. This is the first time one was hired before it opened,” Bernard said.

A line of 20 shoppers already had formed outside Best Buy by 11:30 a.m. today. Some said they recalled last year when the line became unruly because bargain hunters had set down chairs and stepped out of line, some to go sit in their warm cars.

“Last year there was a situation. People were not waiting in their chairs. When more and more started showing up, it became a bigger problem. So they came back and sat down,” said Josh Goldsmith of North Yarmouth, who was waiting Thursday morning to buy a 40-inch television for a Christmas present.

This year a barricade was set up in front of the store and around the corner to keep Black Friday shoppers in line.