August 15th, 2014
10:50 AM ET

New Head of Ferguson Security: 'How Would I Feel?'

For the new head of security in Ferguson, Missouri, the work is personal.

The St. Louis suburb has become a flashpoint in the wake of a weekend police shooting that left African-American teenager Michael Brown dead.

State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson was tapped for the job Thursday.

"A young man lost his life and so I grieve for that family because I have a son," he told CNN's Jake Tapper. "We're going to look at this from a personal standpoint and if that was my son - or that was my friend - how would I feel?"

State troopers are taking over security after days of clashes between protesters and local police, who have been accused of using excessive force in response to the demonstrations.

"We do need to do something different and we're doing that," Johnson told Tapper. "Sometimes you just have to - not just let people speak, but you have to listen."

Earlier in the day, he told reporters in St. Louis that he grew up in the area and considers it both his community and home.

Ferguson has been the scene of protests since Saturday, when a police officer shot and killed Brown, who was unarmed. Police say he was trying to grab the officer's gun. Witnesses say the 18-year-old was holding his hands in the air when he was fatally shot.

Follow for more on this developing story

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