For several nights this week, tanks, combat gear and assault rifles were seen in the city as protesters demonstrated against the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer.
"This is a good example of what can happen if there's too much armor and not enough working together," Nixon said.
He credited Thursday night's shift from the violent unrest seen earlier in the week to peaceful protests to the state Highway Patrol, which Nixon put in charge of overseeing the demonstrations Thursday.
"As we saw that acceleration, both of the confrontations as well as the amplitude of the force, it became obvious to me we needed a force change," Nixon said. "That's why I brought in the Highway Patrol, put Capt. (Ron) Johnson in the front and also why folks backed up last night, got in the community as opposed to into MRAPs, and I think that's one of the reasons we had zero arrests last night."
With Ferguson police saying Friday morning it would release the name of the officer involved in Saturday's shooting, Nixon said it would be "yet another step in healing."