Missouri Governor Jay Nixon delivered a brief statement calling for peace ahead of the Ferguson grand jury decision, outlining the state's planned response to potential protests.

Nixon said several Ferguson churches will stay open as safe havens after the grand jury's decision is announced tonight, and promised mental health professionals would be made available to meet with citizens. The National Guard, activated last week when Nixon declared a state of emergency, will be on duty to guard hospitals and fire departments, freeing up local police to respond to emergency calls.

He also said law enforcement officers were working to keep lines of communication open with protestors.

"The world will be watching us," he said. "They're going to watch how we handle our disagreement in the coming days and how we make needed change in the coming months and years."

[image via AP]