With more than 70 law enforcement agencies in the area of Ferguson, Mo., the situation that played out in the St. Louis suburb of 21,000 residents after the shooting of Michael Brown is one that several law-enforcement officials have said is unlike anything they had ever seen and nothing they could reasonably have been prepared to handle, says the Wall Street Journal. “In my 28 years I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Jon Belmar, chief of the St. Louis County Police Department, which was summoned to help the Ferguson department with manpower and equipment.
Gov. Jay Nixon called in the National Guard, but the Guard is now leaving as tensions appear to be easing. The fact that so many agencies were involved “resulted in a mishmash of tactics and confusion,” the Journal reports. Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum said the challenges greater for smaller agencies like those that responded in Ferguson. “You have at least five different agencies that have to piece together a strategy,” he said. “Unless you have trained together, unless you have worked together, the response is going to be uneven and challenging under the best of practices.”