Moments into his news conference Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey turned to the class of police cadets flanking him, and reminded them that Medaria Arradondo had once stood in their shoes.
Today, Arradondo is the city’s police chief, a title the 29-year department veteran will likely hold for the next three years after Frey announced his reappointment on Thursday.
His nomination still needs full City Council approval.
“After 30 years of exceptional service, he’s now standing here as our chief,” Frey told the recruits. “Our chief isn’t just from Minneapolis, he is of Minneapolis.”
Addressing the group, Arradondo reiterated his priorities: repairing fractured relationships with certain communities and the effect of escalating gun violence on minority youth in certain parts of the city — part of a “road map that was rooted in trust and accountability.”
“I’m also aware that for some of our city, there still remains a turmoil of trust,” he said.
As a department, he said, the MPD must work to cultivate public trust so that when a tragedy occurs, the public will afford them the “benefit of doubt.”
The lifelong Minneapolis resident and the city’s first African-American police chief, Arradondo took over the 900-member department last year after his predecessor, Janeé Harteau, was forced to resign after the controversial police shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. The officer who fired the fatal shot, Mohamed Noor, was later fired and is awaiting trial for third-degree murder and manslaughter charges, as the department deals with the fallout from the case.
It is among the challenges facing Arradondo in his first full term as the city’s top lawman.
Arradondo, 51, joined the force in 1989, starting as a patrolman on the North Side, and then spent the next three decades working as a cop, investigator or supervisor in the schools, Internal Affairs and the department’s now-defunct public housing unit.
Under Arradondo, the administration’s often-prickly relationship with the union that represents the city’s rank-and-file officers has warmed, with federation President Bob Kroll referring to him as the “best chief” that he’d ever served under.
At an MPD promotions ceremony later in the afternoon, Frey lauded not only Arradondo but also the strong working bond they share.
“We could not ask for better leadership and I could not ask for a better partner in the mayor’s office,” he told the audience.
The promotees are Kim Lund, who is now a commander; Brian Sand and Darah Westermeyer, who made lieutenant; Bryon Cross, Jon Edwards, Steven Klimpke, Jamiel Mohammad, Jon Petron, Michael Primozich, Melissa Rogers and Gregory Wenzel, who made sergeant.