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Local Law Enforcement Reacts to Ferguson

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- In the midst of the chaos in Ferguson, many are pushing for peace.

"Our goal is to speak some calmness, to take some of the heat out this situation," says Bishop Edwin Bass with The Empowered Church in Missouri.

Not everyone has the same goal, however.  Police there say it's a small group causing the problems, resulting in the scenes you've seen across television for the past few days.

"I'm thankful that it didn't happen here," says Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner. "I'm hoping that it wouldn't happen here."
Nearly 300 miles away, Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner says he is taking in the images just like the rest of us. Gardner says he understands those attempting to protest peacefully.

"There's a tragedy that occurred and people are upset, and rightfully so," Gardner says.

It's the few among the masses, the ones tossing the Molotov cocktails and shooting at police that may necessitate the military gear many have called controversial.

"If I was being shot at, I would want to be as well protected as possible," Gardner says.

Gardner says as for the shooting itself, all the facts aren't out yet, but ultimately, there are no winners.

"I think it's a lose-lose situation," he says. "It was a lose-lose situation from the beginning."

Many wonder if and when the protests stop, where Ferguson goes from here.

"Their grievances go historically deeper than a single act of violence," says Colin Gordon, a history professor at the University of Iowa.

Gordon says after decades of housing discrimination in Ferguson, along with a considerable wealth gap between blacks and whites, and a general mistrust of police among the African American community, healing the city will be a tough task.

"You can't really run the reel backwards, because so much damage has been done," he says.

According to Ferguson's mayor, the city is exploring ways to increase black applicants to the police academy, and is trying to raise funds for cameras that would be attached to patrol cars and officers -- in an effort to "learn from this tragedy."
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