MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Freedom Square in north Minneapolis is where people come to sell and buy produce and merchandise.

The topic of conversation Friday evening is the new top cop in the city — Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.

“I am so excited from what I’ve read about him, heard about him,” said Minneapolis resident Brenda Nolen. “He is going to be great.”

Nolen believes Chief Arradondo — the first African-American police chief in the city’s history — is the right man to lead the department.

“I’ve seen him out in the community already, so I think he is going to do good talking with people and asking questions on where he can help at,” Nolen said.

Many who call the city’s north side home know the problems with crime, and hope Chief Arradondo will be the one to make reducing the violence a priority.

Rob Hanson, executive director of the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, says he hopes the new chief brings with him a new approach.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo (credit: CBS)

“Interested to see what sorts of ideas he has to change some of the dynamics between the relationship between the community and the police department,” Hanson said.

For others, Chief Arradondo gives them hope.

“It’s inspiring to know that he came up through the ranks,” said Manu Lewis of Neighborhood Organizing for Change.

Arradondo has served the people as a police officer in several different roles for 28 years.

“I will continue to treat the men and women of this department with the respect and dignity that I would want to have and that I expect our community members to be treated with,” Arradondo said.

With policing and race hot topics across the country, people who have worked with the new chief hope he does not change who he is.

“A lot of people like him because he deals with them on a human level and nothing superficial,” Lewis said.

Some say his biggest challenge as top cop should be easy for him to conquer.

“Making choices and decisions that benefit the whole, the collective,” Lewis said.

Chief Arradondo has always said he was taught that his race should not hold him back.

He is now chief of a department that historically has had issues with diversity.

He has been outspoken about it in the past, and some believe he will work to make sure the department truly reflects the people it serves.

Reg Chapman