Minneapolis police Cmdr. Melissa Chiodo, who oversees internal affairs and is one of the department’s few high-ranking women, is a finalist for the Inver Grove Heights police chief job.

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

The other finalists are: Sean Folmar, Inver Grove Heights’ acting chief; Joshua Otis, a commander with the city’s police force; former Prior Lake Chief Mark Elliott; and Cmdr. Brian Wicke of the South St. Paul Police Department.

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 Voss. 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, she earned a master’s degree in criminal justice and leadership from Concordia University, according to her online biography.

She and the other candidates will face a final round of interviews Thursday, after which the City Council will convene to issue a decision. If no consensus can be reached, the vote will be delayed until April after the city’s mayor returns from vacation.

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


Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated the number of MPD women serving in sworn appointed positions.