The Chilmark selectmen voted Thursday night to promote longtime Chilmark police Sgt. Jonathan Klaren to the position of chief, following a two-month search that drew a field of candidates from on and off the Island.

The vote was unanimous, after the selectmen grappled with a decision between an Island candidate with knowledge of the town and its police department, and another highly qualified candidate from off-Island.

“We have been with Jonathan, and that to me is a really positive strength,” selectman James Malkin said.

“When I look at the police department, where it is today and where it could go tomorrow, I see no reason that he couldn’t lead it that way,” said interim chief Tim Rich, who served on a three-member search committee that included selectman Bill Rossi and planning board member Joan Malkin.

Finalists included Seekonk police Capt. Frank John and Plymouth police Capt. Bruce McNamee, who along with Mr. Klaren had been selected from a field of 13 candidates from as far away as Georgia and Illinois. Mr. Rossi said only two Island residents had applied for the job.

Mr. McNamee was also in the running on Thursday night. None of the candidates attended the meeting.

In a round of final interviews on Wednesday, selectmen grilled the finalists with questions related to their past accomplishments, leadership qualities, policing strategies and potential vulnerabilities.

Mr. Klaren described a sense of uncertainty in the department since former chief Brian Cioffi stepped down in December, and said his first priority would be meeting with the department as a whole, and then with each member to clarify expectations. He said he hoped to enroll the department in a statewide accreditation program.

Questions for Mr. John and Mr. McNamee focused on the challenges of transitioning to the Island community, while Mr. Klaren’s interview focused more on town-specific issues such as plans to hire a new police officer and the process of working with other departments.

As far as working with other town departments in the summer, Mr. Klaren offered a number of examples from the past, including the creation of temporary safety zones for the highway department and having officers at Lucy Vincent and Squibnocket beaches every day to help manage traffic. He also walked the selectmen through a number of policing scenarios, including parking conflicts in the center of town, fireworks on the beach and calls related to domestic abuse.

Police chiefs from every Island town attended the meeting: David Rossi from Edgartown, Erik Blake from Oak Bluffs, Dan Hanavan from Tisbury, Daniel Rossi from West Tisbury, Randhi Belain from Aquinnah, and Mr. Rich from Chilmark. Dukes County sheriff Robert Ogden also attended part of the meeting.

Mr. Klaren began his career in law enforcement as a summer officer in Chilmark in 1989. He later served four years as a patrolman in the Gay Head police department before joining the Chilmark department in 1996, moving up to second-in-command in 2004. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts, and a master’s degree in justice administration from Norwich University in Vermont.

All three finalists touched on the importance of community policing and educating the public. On Wednesday, Mr. Klaren stressed the importance of community support, including from the board of selectmen and the department itself.

“We all work so hard for the support of the town,” he said, adding that it shouldn’t be taken for granted. “If you lose support of the community, you are probably going to fail. If you lose the support of the board, you are definitely going to fail. If you lose the support of the department you are going to have a real tough time.”

He said he sees the Chilmark police department as distinct from departments down-Island, where larger town populations necessitate a different rank structure. In Oak Bluffs, he said, the sergeant functions more as a line supervisor, while in Chilmark, the role has put him second in command. He counted among his highest achievements his role in providing stability within the Chilmark police department, working with other departments and boards, and serving as a mentor to new officers.

But he also anticipated the limitations of his new role.

“No one person can be all things to everybody,” he said Wednesday. “You have to be a liaison to this board, you have to be a leader to police officers, you have to be receptive to the community . . . You have to not be afraid to reach out to your resources.”

In light of efforts by the Trump administration to take a more hard line approach to immigration, the selectmen also asked each candidate what he would do to make immigrants in Chilmark feel safe. All three finalists said they aimed to treat everyone fairly under the law, with Mr. John noting that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has tended not to involve itself locally except in response to serious crimes.

Mr. Klaren had a similar view, saying that his department has always enforced the law without regard to immigration. “The way we’ve operated hasn’t changed,” he said. “My door will always be open.”

The selectmen will negotiate a contract with Mr. Klaren. Selectman Warren Doty said he hoped the process would be completed next week.