Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey intends to reappoint Medaria Arradondo as the city's chief of police, giving him command of the department for at least another three years.
Arradondo, the city's first African-American police chief, took over the 900-member department last year amid the turmoil following a fatal police shooting that cost his predecessor, Janeé Harteau, her job. At the time, his appointment to serve out the remaining year of Harteau's term sailed through the City Council.
Frey, by most accounts, never seriously considered any other candidate. He is expected to announce his decision on Thursday.
The chief, who previously served as Harteau's second-in-command, took control of the department after she was forced to resign during the controversy following the death of Justine Damond, who was shot by Officer Mohamed Noor. Noor awaits trial for third-degree murder and manslaughter charges, while Harteau was recently named president of a mobile policing-app maker.
Arradondo's reappointment comes as the popular chief seeks to steady the department after a series of high-profile controversies that culminated with the June 23 shooting of Thurman Blevins during a police chase on the city's North Side.
A police spokesman on Wednesday said the department would reserve comment until after Frey's announcement.
Since joining the force in 1989, he has had a reputation for developing trusting relationships with those both inside and outside of the police headquarters, including reaching out to some of the department's staunchest critics.
His other priorities: promoting "procedurally just" policing where officers show respect no matter the circumstances, while addressing the psychological toll of police work on officers, as well as the effect of escalating gun violence on minority youth in certain parts of the city
Lt. Bob Kroll, police union president, said Wednesday that he hadn't been informed of the mayor's decision, but that he agreed with it, calling Arradondo "the best chief that I've had to work under in a Federation capacity."
"He's the opposite of a narcissist — this isn't about him and his career," said Kroll, adding that while he has had his disagreements with Arradondo, the two have a good working relationship. "This is truly about advancing this department."
Kroll, who frequently sparred with Harteau, said that the chief's openness to dialogue has helped him navigate some of the recent controversies, including Damond's shooting, which occurred after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her Minneapolis home. When she approached the squad Noor was riding in, he fired from the passenger seat, killing her.
"The Justine Damond shooting was a tragedy, and I mean he's been dealing with that since," he said.
Over his career, Arradondo has spent time in nearly every unit in the department, working as a patrol officer, internal affairs investigator, school resource officer and member of the now-defunct Public Housing unit.
Before becoming assistant chief under Harteau, he served as her deputy chief of staff, and before that commanded both the Second and First precincts. He has a master's degree in human service from Concordia University.
Council Member Steve Fletcher praised Arradondo for striking the difficult balance facing any modern police chief of keeping cops happy while keeping them in line.
"I think he is challenged with a department and a city that have different expectations of a city than we've had before," said Fletcher, who sits on the public safety committee. "I think right now having a mayor and police chief who are working well together is a real positive for our city."
Adriana Cerrillo, an education advocate who previously served on the Police Conduct Oversight Commission, said that she had seen improvements in the way police engage disenfranchised communities under Arradondo, but that in many ways the chief "is powerless."
"He's doing a good job, but he's part of the system," she said.
"I really hope he steps up his game and really speaks up."
His backers also point out that while the summer was marked by a surge in gang violence, overall crime has continued to decrease.
Yet now, as after his initial appointment, some critics questioned the selection of a longtime department insider whose policing philosophies aligned with his predecessor's.
"He has had some of the largest scandals in his tenure in recent [department] history," said Sam Sanchez, an organizer with Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, a reform group.
He also pointed out that it was under Arradondo's watch that officers were accused of directing paramedics to inject hospital transportees with the powerful sedative ketamine. The department hasn't said whether any officers were punished as a result.
Sanchez said there had been little opportunity for public input during the reappointment process.
Arradondo has in the past acknowledged that as chief that he accepts the blame for his officers' missteps while insisting reforms he initiates may not blossom until long after his tenure ends.