Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson could soon learn if he will face criminal charges stemming from the August shooting death of unarmed black teen Mike Brown.

Several media outlets are reporting a grand jury decision could be made public any day now, prompting worried residents to brace for what could lead to more unrest in the small town just outside the city of St. Louis.

Back in August, hundreds of angry protestors filled neighborhood streets for days calling for Wilson’s arrest. As tensions boiled, residents clashed with police dressed in riot gear and firing tear gas, and several stores were looted or vandalized.

For weeks now, city, school and business leaders have met each day to coordinate strategies in hopes of averting a return to such chaos and violence. In hopes of keeping their students safe, top school officials have also asked St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCullough to either make his announcement about the grand jury’s decision after 5 p.m. or over the weekend when kids have safely returned home.

Meanwhile, Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., are among those most calling for calm, no matter what the grand jury impaneled for the last three months ultimately decides.

“People are in a frenzy because they are trying to prepare for the unexpected,” Thomas Mitchell, owner of security firm Comfort Zone Security, Protection & Investigations, told USA Today. “I really don’t have the staff to fulfill some of the calls,” said Mitchell, adding that he already has agreements to stand as security for an apartment complex and an investment business.

Even Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III admits to preparing himself for “all worst-case scenarios.” And since the shooting, city officials have spent in excess of $100,000 on such additional equipment as body armor, tear gas, handcuffs and other forms of crowd control items.

“It’s a high-street, low trust environment,” said protestor Johnetta Elzie. “We are living day-to-day waiting on this announcement. Added ‘Don’t Shoot Coalition’ co-chair Michael McPherson: “There’s going to be agitation and demonstration. It’s just a matter of what kind. We aren’t trying to quiet people’s anger. We are just trying to direct it in a positive direction.”

Counters St. Louis County Police Department Sergeant Brian Schellman “it would be irresponsible for police to promise not to use armored vehicles, tear gas and riot gear. We have to make sure we have no loss of life and that businesses are protected.”

Beyond Ferguson and even Mike Brown, some protestors point to what they call a pattern of excessive abuse by police against people of color. Recent Center for Disease Control data “reveals a profound racial disparity among the victims of police shootings. Between 1968 and 2011, black people were between two to eight times more likely to die at the hands of law enforcement than Whites.”

Meanwhile, Brown’s parents are now headed to Switzerland for a U.N. human rights conference scheduled for next week. As part of their journey, they will address the 53rd session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture, speaking out against racial profiling and civil rights violations in the U.S.

They can only hope and pray for the same serenity to come to their hometown.

[Photo Credit: Sierraromeo]