Inver Grove Heights has found its next police chief.

Minneapolis Police Cmdr. Melissa Chiodo, who oversees internal affairs and is one of the department's few high-ranking women, on Thursday night won the backing of the City Council to oversee the 36-member force.

Of the four candidates who were interviewed by city officials on Thursday, Chiodo was the most impressive, according to Mayor George Tourville.

The vote was unanimous.

The city administrator now will work with Chiodo to iron out a job agreement by April.

"She was our No. 1 pick," Tourville said Thursday night. "She was very qualified, very articulate, very knowledgeable."

Chiodo was one of five potential replacements for Inver Grove's former top cop, Paul Schnell, who left the force late last year to become the new Department of Corrections commissioner.

The other finalists were Sean Folmar, Inver Grove Heights' acting chief; Joshua Otis, a commander with the city's police force; and Cmdr. Brian Wicke of the South St. Paul Police Department. Another candidate, former Prior Lake Chief Mark Elliott, withdrew from consideration this week.

Chiodo is one of only three MPD women serving in a sworn appointed position. The others are Fifth Precinct Inspector Kathy Waite, who is also being considered for the vacant Fourth Precinct inspector post, and Cmdr. Kim Lund. Another woman, Shannon Johnson, runs the department's crime lab, a civilian position.

Before taking over internal affairs in 2017, Chiodo oversaw the special crimes investigations division, and before that was a lieutenant in charge of sex crimes.

She spent the first 12 years of her department career as a patrol officer, and later had a five-year stint in internal affairs as an investigator. More recently, she was put in charge of coordinating the department's security efforts for next month's NCAA Final Four.

After graduating from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, she earned a master's degree in criminal justice and leadership from Concordia University, according to her online biography.

The decision brought to a close a monthslong search led by St. Paul-based public-sector advisory firm Springsted Inc.