Praised for his leadership in recent months, interim Tisbury police chief Christopher Habekost was named permanent chief by the town select board Thursday.

Chief Habekost was a sergeant with the force when in July he accepted a six-month post to replace retiring chief Mark Saloio.

“Chris, over the last few months, has really shown leadership and sound judgment,” town administrator and personnel director John (Jay) Grande told the Gazette Friday.

The police department’s rank and file strongly support the new chief, said Mr. Grande, who has been meeting with union members and management at the police station.

“Morale is very high,” Mr. Grande said. “The last four and a half months [have] represented a significant turning point.”

During his interim appointment, Chief Habekost has filled vacant positions, reorganized the command structure and assigned a detective who has made several arrests of suspected drug dealers, according to his report to selectmen Thursday.

The police department also completed its state accreditation process, which began under the leadership of Chief Saloio.

Chief Habekost, who joined the Tisbury force as a special officer in 1998 and went full-time in 2003, said he was both pleased and relieved to be appointed Thursday.

“I was under the impression that my service was appreciated by the select board and the town administrator, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be returning to my former sergeant’s [rank],” he told the Gazette by phone.

After a busy summer, Chief Habekost is now looking ahead.

“The budget for the next fiscal year is going to need working on between now and the middle of December,” he said, acknowledging that it’s not the most exciting part of policing.

“I used to be out on the road doing police work, and now I’m behind a desk doing paperwork,” he said.

“I knew what I was getting into,” Chief Habekost said added. “I’m ready to move the department forward.”

Also Thursday, the Tisbury select board reappointed Mr. Grande as town administrator and personnel director, and named fire chief Greg Leland as emergency management director.