Former St. Louis police chief Daniel Isom II was nominated to become Missouri's director of public safety on Wednesday by Gov. Jay Nixon.
“Chief Isom's experience as a top level manager, front line police officer and highly-regarded expert in the field make him uniquely qualified to lead the department of public safety,” said Nixon said in a press release.
Isom's appointment will make him the state's top law enforcement official and the only African-American in Nixon's cabinet, a timely move as civil unrest following the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown continues in Ferguson.
“It’s a political move to try to calm down the African-American community,” State Senator Jamilah Nasheed told The New York Times.
State Representative Tommie Pierson echoed her sentiments adding that Black leadership is needed in the policing of the state. "People who understand you tend to not fear you. White police officers fear us because they don’t understand us, and that’s a problem," he said to The New York Times.
When asked at a press conference at the Wainwright State Office Building if race played a role in his choice, The St.Louis Post-Dispatch reports Nixon only replied that he was committed to government that "reflected the citizenship of the state.”
Pending confirmation from the state senate, Isom’s position will become official on Sept. 1.