In July of 2007, 10 months after Tisbury police chief John Cashin had begun his job, the Tisbury selectmen received a letter from the mayor of Norwalk, Conn., where Mr. Cashin had been police chief for 25 years before moving to the Island.

The letter from the mayor was responding to scathing comments Mr. Cashin had made to The Hour, a Norwalk daily newspaper, about his former job.

The letter was brief but pointed, and followed an irate phone call to Thomas Pachico, then chairman of the town selectmen.

“As I expressed to you [by phone, Mr. Cashin’s] comments were insulting, outrageous and just plain wrong,” wrote Mayor Richard A. Moccia.

“To have a former officer of our department make these comments a year after he has left, is very disingenuous. In my many years in public service I have never seen such a lack of professionalism from a law-enforcement official.

“I realize we all have freedom of speech, but this goes beyond the pale to have a chief of one department make such statements about another chief and his department,” he also wrote.

“I cannot dictate what your actions should be in this matter, but I trust you will at least bring it up for discussion at your next board meeting.”

The mayor enclosed a copy of the newspaper story, which had led the paper that day. In the story — which did not focus solely on Mr. Cashin but also on other serious problems with the police force — Mr. Cashin criticized members of the force he had previously led for insubordination, lack of discipline and immorality. He called for a complete shakeup of the department.

He told the paper he had left the Norwalk force because he could no longer tolerate the culture of the place, and was going public as a “last ditch effort to get somebody to wake up to what’s been going on in that department for years.”

The chief’s denunciation of the culture of the Norwalk force was similar, in both content and tone, to his later criticism of the Tisbury police department, unleashed three weeks ago. He aired many of the same complaints in both cases: personnel dramas, a subset of officers whom he thought should be disciplined or fired and a culture of impunity.

But in July of 2007 Mr. Pachico ignored the strongly worded request from the mayor of Norwalk — and did not raise the matter at the next public meeting. Reached by telephone yesterday, Mr. Pachico shrugged off the matter.

“So the mayor called me and he didn’t like it,” he said, adding:

“I didn’t know how functional or nonfunctional the police force was down there, and it really didn’t have anything to do with the town of Tisbury, especially at that point.”

Until the mayor contacted the town about Chief Cashin’s comments, Mr. Pachico said, there had been nothing overt to suggest Mr. Cashin had left the Norwalk force under anything but amicable circumstances.

“He [Cashin] basically told us to start with, that he needed to move on, that he’d retired from Norwalk. He didn’t say that was because it was awful there, but it was sort of implied, I guess,” Mr. Pachico recalled.

Nor did the town’s own background check reveal any friction between Mr. Cashin and his former police department, even though town administrator John Bugbee, and then-acting chief Timothy Stobie traveled to Connecticut to make inquiries.

“They went down and talked to anybody who wanted to talk,” said Mr. Pachico, “and they came back with high accolades.”

Mr. Bugbee agreed. He said he and Mr. Stobie spoke to fellow officers of Mr. Cashin, the deputy police chief, “random people around the courthouse” and people at City Hall, including the mayor, and turned up nothing negative.

In September 2006 Mr. Cashin was appointed chief. Three weeks ago he was ousted by the selectmen after lashing out publicly about his department to the newspaper — in remarkably similar language as he had to the Norwalk newspaper — only this time the remarks were made to the two Island newspapers.

And Mr. Pachico, who is no longer a selectman, could offer only hindsight. He said that he and Tristan Israel, who is now chairman of the board, were frankly leaning toward giving the job to Dan Hanavan, a Tisbury officer who was also a finalist.

“I was going to vote for Hanavan to start with,” said Mr. Pachico.

“Then I thought Dan had never done budgeting or written grants and he had a couple of officers down there who were a little hard to deal with. I thought it would put him in a precarious position.

“We were unanimous. Tristan [Israel] and I had leaned toward Dan Hanavan, but you couldn’t dispute Cashin’s record, and like I said we sent a scouting party down there and they came back with nothing but glowing recommendations.”

Mr. Hanavan was named acting chief by the selectmen last week.

The board also decided to again engage the services of Robert Wasserman, a West Tisbury resident and consultant who examined the Tisbury police department in 2001 and wrote a report that found it dysfunctional.

Although the town initially announced Mr. Wasserman would begin his work last week, he has yet to do so, apparently delayed by other outside work off-Island.

Mr. Israel said he hoped the details would be sorted out before tonight’s board meeting.

He also said the terms of Mr. Cashin’s departure have not been made public because they are not yet final.

And he denied reports that surfaced last week that the selectmen had put a gag order on members of the police force to restrain them from talking to the press.

“There is no gag order. This is a democracy and people are free to speak their minds,” Mr. Israel said.