The National Guard in Missouri is on standby, ready to help law enforcement if protests break out once a grand jury decides whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will face charges in the August shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
"Violence will not be tolerated," Gov. Jay Nixon (D) said Tuesday during a press conference. "Residents and businesses of this region will be protected."
A decision is expected to be made in the next few weeks, the Los Angeles Times reports, and the National Guard will be on call to assist area police if necessary; more than 1,000 local officers have received more than 5,000 hours of training to deal with any demonstrations that could occur.
During earlier protests against the shooting, hundreds were arrested, and the St. Louis County Police Department has spent $120,000 to replenish such items as tear gas, flex handcuffs, and batons. "Obviously we don't want to use this equipment, but we have an obligation to preserve life and property," St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman told the Times. "As police, it's our job to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best."