In light of continued gun violence around the country, the Chilmark selectmen on Tuesday offered words of gratitude to their town police force, most of which gathered shoulder-to-shoulder in the town hall meeting room to be recognized for their service.

“We would not like to say that we are either for X or for Y or for Z,” selectman Warren Doty said, touching on the complex divisions resulting from violence by and against police officers. “But just know that it’s a special time in America today to be a policeman, and it’s something that all of us are thinking about.”

Police chief Brian Cioffi (center): “Every one of us here has been in and around this community for a long time.” — Alex Elvin

Others shared the sentiment.

“We appreciate what you do, and we also recognize that everyone involved — stripes and colors and creeds — it’s a real difficult time,” selectmen Jim Malkin said, “and we support everyone.”

“I feel like I’m friends with every one of you, and I think I’m lucky to live in a community where I can feel that way,” selectman Bill Rossi said. “I know community policing is a major concern for this force, and I think you treat everyone the same – and I really respect that and admire that about you guys.”

The 11 officers stood quietly in uniform against the wall of the meeting room with their hands folded. They represented the majority of the Chilmark police department, which includes a total of about 18 officers.

Speaking for the department, police chief Brian Cioffi thanked the selectmen for the gesture and added a few words of his own.

“Every one of us here has been in and around this community for a long time,” he said, noting that several have returned after serving in other departments. “It’s one of the reasons why we’ve been able to be successful over the years. We don’t try to distance ourselves from our community. We always try to be around.”

“We thank you guys for doing this,” he told the selectmen.

The brief ceremony concluded with applause.