A well-respected Minneapolis police commander has been tapped as the department's next assistant chief, officials announced on Monday.

After serving as Chief Janeé Harteau's chief of staff for the past 2½ years, Medaria "Rondo" Arradondo will take over as the MPD's second-in-command. He replaces the departing Kris Arneson, who will retire this month.

Harteau on Monday called the decision to appoint Arradondo an easy one, "part of our very intentional and strategic succession plan."

"Rondo, and everyone who knows him calls him Rondo, brings incredible leadership and community-building skills to this position," Harteau said in a statement. "As my Chief of Staff, Rondo has prepared for this next step in many ways, with an intense focus on our progressive initiatives."

Arradondo joined the department in 1989 and climbed the ranks, with stints in patrol, internal affairs and property crimes. He also worked as a school resource officer and walked the beat on the city's North Side, where his family has strong ties.

A graduate of Roosevelt High School, Arradondo earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Metropolitan State University and later received a master's degree in human services from Concordia University in St. Paul.

One of 'Mill City 5'

Arradondo was one of five black officers — known collectively as the "Mill City 5" — who sued former chief Tim Dolan in 2007, claiming that Dolan had fostered a racially hostile environment. The city settled with the officers two years later for $740,000.

In his new position, Arradondo will be responsible for managing the department's day-to-day operations while overseeing the Special Operations and Intelligence Division and police-community relations program.

More changes coming

In a statement, Arneson, who is departing after more than 30 years with the department, pointed to Arradondo's reputation as a popular and accessible leader.

"While it's not easy to leave this job, it is much easier knowing that Rondo will be the next Assistant Chief," Arneson said in the statement.

Police officials said that more leadership changes are underway and will be announced in the next few weeks.

Libor Jany • 612-673-4064

Twitter: @StribJany