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Gardner hires former Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson as liaison between her office, police department

Ron Johnson will be a go-between for Gardner's office and law enforcement, which have clashed over the past few months.

The former Missouri State Highway Patrol captain who led the policing effort during Ferguson protests is joining the St. Louis prosecutor's office.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner introduced Ron Johnson Wednesday as law enforcement liaison, a contracted position that will pay $50,000 for one year. Gardner says Johnson will work toward better "communication and collaboration" with city police, the FBI and other agencies.

“I am thrilled to be working with the Circuit Attorney and her staff to help increase the effectiveness and outcomes of her office with the good men and women who work in local law enforcement,” said Johnson.

Johnson, who was born and raised in St. Louis, was brought in by then-Governor Jay Nixon after the police response to protests in Ferguson was criticized.

RELATED: The patrol captain who marched with protesters returns to West Florissant

Johnson started by walking West Florissant. Not in formation – but with protesters. He took off his protective vest and pulled officers back.

Johnson retired from the patrol in 2018.

Gardner has often been at odds with city police, especially over her "exclusion list" banning dozens of officers from presenting cases over credibility concerns.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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