Governor Jay Nixon has signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency and activating the National Guard to support law enforcement during any period of unrest that might occur following the decision of the grand jury in the Michael Brown case.

Governor Jay Nixon announces the Highway Patrol will take over security in Ferguson (screencap courtesy of KSDK)

Governor Jay Nixon

The Governor’s order calls on the National Guard to support law enforcement in maintaining safety and protecting constitutional rights.

Nixon says the action is part of the effort to be prepared for anything that happens after the grand jury decides whether to charge police officer Darren Wilson with a crime for fatally shooting Michael Brown.

“The National Guard is well-suited to provide security at command posts, fire stations and other locations as well as perform other functions that will free up law enforcement officers to remain focused on community policing and protecting constitutional rights,” Nixon wrote in a statement.

The order also confirms that the Highway Patrol, St. Louis Metropolitan Police and St. Louis County police will operate as a unified command to protect the public and property,” while allowing citizens to exercise their constitutional rights.

Nixon last week announced the preparations for the grand jury decision.  Protest groups and the Brown family’s attorneys responded unfavorably to his statements.