Aug 15, 2014 5:25 PM by NBC News

Missouri Gov. Puts Highway Patrol in Charge in Ferguson

Missouri's State Highway Patrol is taking over security operations in Ferguson after three nights of violent clashes between protesters and police.

Governor Jay Nixon announced the move Thursday afternoon, hours after President Obama issued a call for calm in the city.

"Now is the time for healing, now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson and now is the time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done," Mr. Obama said.

The protests are a response to Saturday's fatal police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown.

"It's a powder keg and we all recognize that," Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said in a Thursday afternoon press conference.

Governor Nixon has placed State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, a Ferguson native, in charge of the operation.

"I grew up here, and this is currently my community and my home, and therefore it means a lot to me personally that we break this cycle of violence, defuse tension and build trust," Captain Johnson said.

More than a dozen people were arrested Wednesday night, including St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who says he was sitting in his car observing the scene when officers moved in.

At one point tear gas was fired directly at a television crew, and officers also detained two print journalists.

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