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From Military to Peacekeeping Operation

Governor Jay Nixon's only smart move in this tragic episode turned out to be brilliant
by Lou Dubose

Aug 25, 2014 | Blog, Ferguson



Ferguson, Missouri
Is there a MacArthur “genius” grant for creative policing? Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson is a candidate.

The guy is as good up close as he us on “CNN with Anderson Cooper.” He did for Ferguson, Missouri, what Russel L. Honoré did for New Orleans in the wake of Katrina.

With quiet authority he turned a military occupation into a peacekeeping operation. Governor Jay Nixon’s only smart move in this tragic episode turned out to be brilliant: putting this man in command of the local and regional police forces providing security for the city of Ferguson.

I’m still trying to determine if Captain Johnson ordered Ferguson police out of the African-American neighborhoods in the city. Their presence would be incendiary after a member of the force killed an unarmed young man who was seconds away from his front door.

In “black Ferguson,” local cops are nowhere to be seen among hundreds of officers and vehicles securing West Florissant Street, where nightly protests are held.

In “black Ferguson,” local cops are nowhere to be seen.

I couldn’t get an answer at the Ferguson police station today. And Captain Johnson cut off questions after he had walked four miles in a midday NAACP Youth March.

The last question he allowed? Will you speak at Michael Brown’s funeral Monday?

“No. That’s a time for the family to grieve, not a time for me to speak.”

After the march, of about 4 o’clock, Johnson spent half an hour talking to locals and marchers.

—Lou Dubose

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