Kevin Killeen

FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOX) – He’s an African American. He’s from North St. Louis County. And as a local commander of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, his job Thursday night is to establish calm in Ferguson.

No more armored trucks, tear gas and riot gear. Highway Patrol Captain Ronald Johnson says he wants to establish a rapport with the protestors face-to-face.

“I believe honest conversation and understanding will get us to where we need to be, and we can have a more compassionate and different approach today,” Johnson says.

In fact, Johnson says he told his troopers to take their gas masks off their belts.

The change in security was ordered by Gov. Jay Nixon earlier Thursday after he complained that Ferguson had become “like a war zone” in recent nights.

TIMELINE: The Death of Michael Brown and Unrest in Ferguson

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