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Former lawman who helped calm Ferguson protests tapped as Gardner’s police liaison

Former lawman who helped calm Ferguson protests tapped as Gardner’s police liaison


ST. LOUIS — Retired Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson will join the St. Louis prosecutor’s office as its liaison with law enforcement, Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner announced Wednesday.

“The trust between the community and law enforcement is a key component to keeping our city safer,” Gardner said Wednesday during a press conference with Johnson. “The people of this great city expect us all to work together professionally and to do the right thing for the community.”

Johnson, who retired from the patrol last October after three decades in law enforcement, was known for taking over protest security in Ferguson in 2014 after the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. He will serve the circuit attorney’s office as part of a $50,000, one-year contract with his consulting firm, Lodestone Solutions Group. Johnson said he started the business after retiring from the patrol.

Gardner said the position is necessary to combat “divisive rhetoric” in the community and show “that we continue to work with law enforcement daily, but I want to make sure that we build that trust with the community that’s needed to make all of our jobs more effective and efficient when pursuing the most violent individuals.”

Johnson said his approach will include routinely meeting with police officials and officers to improve collaboration and discuss solutions to prosecuting and preventing violent crime.

Gardner has had a tumultuous relationship with city police during her first term, particularly over her “exclusion list” of dozens of officers banned from presenting cases to her office. She has charged several police officers with crimes during her term.

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