The Chilmark select board interviewed three longtime Island police officers for the town police chief position Tuesday, asking each about community policing, regionalization, privacy and traffic control.

The board interviewed Chilmark officers Det. Jesse Burton and Sgt. Sean Slavin, and West Tisbury police Sgt. Garrison Vieira. The meeting was the penultimate step in a months-long hiring process initiated after chief Jonathan Klaren this fall announced his plan to retire.

The board is scheduled to reconvene at town hall Wednesday to make a final decision.

Det. Jesse Burton of the Chilmark police department.

The board also queried each candidate about their qualifications and vision for the future of the department.

Mr. Burton, the youngest of the three candidates, joined Chilmark as a traffic officer in 2007. He went on to get an MBA in finance and worked in the Federal Air Marshal Service before returning to the Island police force.

“It’s definitely a bit of a slower pace here” said Mr. Burton of his move back to the department. But that pace provides an opportunity to engage with the community. “I’ve crawled around in attics fixing cable, I’ve done plumbing work…anybody can call me 24/7.”

Mr. Burton also spoke in favor of the town’s restorative justice program, suggested training with the town fire department for emergencies and said he would take an active and team-based approach to leadership. “I’m not just going to fade into and administrative role,” he said.

Sgt. Garrison Vieira of the West Tisbury police department.

Mr. Vieira, who has been with the West Tisbury for 20 years, also emphasized openness in the department.  

“People want to be heard…conversation is a big key to be successful,” he said. During his time in West Tisbury, Mr. Vieira said he has made an effort to be seen out of uniform just as often as he is on duty so he can establish himself as a community figure.

Mr. Slavin has spent the last 26 years as an up-Island officer and started with the Chilmark department in 2009.

“Working all three up-Island towns with different chiefs has given me a good feeling for what works and what doesn’t…I’ve taken good and bad from all of them,” he said.

Sgt. Sean Slavin of the Chilmark police department. — Ray Ewing

Among his priorities, Mr. Slavin said he wanted to do outreach after noticing an uptick in telephone and internet scams affecting the elderly. He also hopes to improve communication with other town agencies and encourage public transit to Menemsha.

“I feel like its time for me to give back to the town,” he said.

The select board felt that each officer had given strong interviews.

“This is not a slam dunk by any means, these are three good candidates,” board member James Malkin said.