Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau shook up her senior staff this week, her latest bid to overhaul the city’s police department.

“These changes will allow us to focus on important initiatives that support our mission of improving public safety, public trust and employee engagement and morale,” Harteau said Thursday.

The staffing overhaul includes the creation of a powerful chief of staff position, and the demotion of a commander who just returned from a six-month leave after an unsuccessful run for Hennepin County sheriff.

The staff reshuffling comes as Harteau is working to improve the department’s community relations after criticism from the public that some officers are using excessive force. Harteau’s staffing overhaul also comes as five former high-ranking Minneapolis police officers are suing the chief for age discrimination and retaliation.

Harteau’s new chief of staff will be Medaria Arradondo, a First Precinct inspector who is known as a popular and accessible leader.

He will be responsible for directing, managing and overseeing departmentwide initiatives, projects and policy.

Arradondo said that he will act as “a conduit between my office, the mayor’s office and the City Council.”

Among his duties are overseeing “fair and impartial policing training” and acting as an intermediary between the department and city leaders, police officials said.

This is familiar territory for Arradondo, who acted in a similar capacity for former chief Robert Olson.

It was unclear whether he will also report to assistant chief Matt Clark, who withdrew from consideration for the police chief job in Bellevue, Wash., earlier in November.

Council Member Blong Yang said he was convinced that Arradondo, a 25-year veteran, is the right officer “to facilitate that sort of engagement that was needed.”

“I think he is going to plug in a lot of holes that they may have had,” said Yang, who chairs the public safety committee. “Anytime you have a new chief, you expect that something is going to change.”

Harteau is demoting deputy chief of patrol Eddie Frizell, who unsuccessfully ran for Hennepin County sheriff. He moves to the newly created rank of commander of operations and administration, putting him in charge of recruitment and hiring.

Frizell said he was dismayed that he was not given an explanation for his demotion, on his first day back from a six-month leave of absence to challenge incumbent Sheriff Rich Stanek

“I didn’t deserve this,” Frizell said.

He was previously recognized for overseeing significant crime reduction in the First Precinct and for improving community engagement efforts.

In his absence, command of the patrol division was returned to the control of the assistant chief, an arrangement that provided “more synergy and continuity,” Harteau said.

The new police chief has made no secret of her intention to revamp the department’s management.

Mike Kjos, previously the inspector in the Fourth Precinct, which includes swaths of north Minneapolis, was pulled downtown to lead the First Precinct.

His reassignment led to the promotion of Mike Friestleben, a lieutenant in the Fourth Precinct, to inspector.

Robert Skoro, commander of the Special Operations Division, was also demoted to his civil service rank of lieutenant and reassigned, officials said.

“It is my goal to align the department so we can continuously improve and adjust to our changing needs,” Harteau said. “[Next year] will be a year of adding stability to our operations while the MPD continues to be forward-thinking and innovative.”