Ahead of the grand jury decision which will likely clear officer Darren Wilson of all charges, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in Ferguson. Additionally, Nixon has signed an executive order activating the National Guard “to support law enforcement during any period of unrest that might occur following the grand jury’s decision concerning the investigation into the death of Michael Brown.”
Nixon said regarding the decision:
“As part of our ongoing efforts to plan and be prepared for any contingency, it is necessary to have these resources in place in advance of any announcement of the grand jury’s decision. These additional resources will support law enforcement’s efforts to maintain peace and protect those exercising their right to free speech. The National Guard is well-suited to provide security at command posts, fire stations and other locations as well as perform other functions that will free up law enforcement officers to remain focused on community policing and protecting constitutional rights. All people in the St. Louis region deserve to feel safe in their communities and to make their voices heard without fear of violence or intimidation. Public safety demands that we are fully prepared for any contingency, regardless of what the St. Louis County grand jury or the U.S. Department of Justice decides.”
The Office of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said that his executive order establishes that the Missouri State Highway Patrol, St. Louis County Police Department and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department will operate as a unified command to keep members of the public safe and protect property. Furthermore, the St. Louis County Police Department will have command and operational control over security in the City of Ferguson in areas of protests and acts of civil disobedience, should such activities occur. You can read Nixon’s executive order here.
(Read More: Protestors In Ferguson Carry Coffins During “Die In”)
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson said that his department is “used to working with other agencies in times of necessity.” He added that, “having the support of the National Guard available will enable local officers to continue to respond promptly to calls for service.”
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar noted that his department has been rigorously preparing for the event of civil unrest. “We have taken tremendous strides over the past three months, as our officers have undergone thousands of hours of additional training and reached out to build strong relationships across the community,” said Belmar. He also lauded Nixon for activating the National Guard, saying, “These additional resources will enhance our ability to achieve our key responsibilities: keeping the public safe, protecting property and enabling people to exercise their constitutional rights.”
Captain Ron Johnson, commander of Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop C, made a similar statement, saying, “These past three months have been challenging for our community but we have come together in many measurable ways. The power of communication within the community has allowed us to take steps toward peaceful change that demonstrate the true character of North County. The availability of the National Guard will ensure that law enforcement has the resources to protect three things vital to our community: public safety, property and the constitutional rights of all.”
Governor Nixon has taken action in the interest of “maintaining safety and protecting constitutional rights,” as it appears that violent riots are imminent on the streets of Ferguson, MO. It is his foremost responsibility to protect the people of his state. Do you think he has made the right move? Tell us in the comments section.