Citing “the possibility of expanded unrest,” Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday declared a state of emergency and prepared to send the Missouri National Guard to help maintain order in the St. Louis region when a grand jury decision is announced in the Michael Brown case, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Nixon's executive order puts the St. Louis County Police Department in charge of security in Ferguson “in areas of protests and acts of civil disobedience, should such activities occur.”
The order also establishes a unified law enforcement command consisting of the county police, the St. Louis Police Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol. Nixon said the goal is to keep people safe while allowing protesters to speak. The governor declined to say how many National Guard soldiers will be deployed. A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the shooting of Brown, 18, who was killed by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. The shooting sparked months of protests.