Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is assuming control of law enforcement operations in Ferguson, said that he would visit “ground zero” on Thursday night and meet with protesters.
Johnson said he would visit a Ferguson gas station that had been set on fire during the protests following the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teen.
“When we talk about boots on the ground, my boots are going to be on the ground,” Johnson said. “We are going have a different approach and have the approach that we’re in this together.”
Gov. Jay Nixon (D) announced that Johnson and the highway patrol would take over for the Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments, which until now had been overseeing operations in Ferguson. The situation become a “crisis,” in Nixon’s words, with rubber bullets and tear gas. Police have said that they have been subjected gunfire and other attacks.
Johnson also said that law enforcement would reevaluate their “resources” amid criticism about the militarized appearance of the police in Ferguson.
“We’ll… look at our resources and make sure we’re not taking resources out there that we don’t need,” he said. “But when we do need those resources, they will still be here.”