Edgartown police chief David Rossi is stepping down after more than 25 years with the Edgartown police department following a recent heart attack.

Edgartown selectmen Monday approved Mr. Rossi’s request to begin the process of disability retirement. He is now on injury leave and will not return to work, town officials said.

Selectmen approved Mr. Rossi’s recommendation to make Lieut. Christopher Dolby the acting police chief until a new chief is appointed. Selectman Margaret Serpa recused herself from the votes because she is related to Mr. Rossi.

Mr. Rossi had a heart attack on Nov. 17, he told selectmen. He went to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and had further tests and procedures done in Boston, including having a stent put in.

“It was kind of an amusement park ride for me for four or five days,” he told selectmen, dressed in plain clothes instead of his police uniform.

He recommended Lieutenant Dolby to serve as acting chief until a successor is named. “Chris Dolby is the guy,” he said. “He’s done every job that we have in this department. Nobody understands the operation better than him.”

Lieutenant Dolby said he would serve as acting chief for as long as needed, but he was not ready to take on the role permanently.

“I’ll see it through as long as necessary,” he said. “It’s not the right timing for me....maybe down the road someday.”

He thanked Mr. Rossi for the opportunity to work with him. Lieutenant Dolby’s first summer as a traffic officer was Mr. Rossi’s first summer with the police department. “We’ve worked together for an awfully long time,” he said.

Mr. Rossi said there is no clear path for the next chief if Lieutenant Dolby does not want the job. “He’d be my recommendation for that,” he said. He agreed to help selectmen set up an small committee to guide the town through the process of creating an assessment of the department and coming up with recommendations for the next chief.

“I think we’ve tied up some loose ends today as far as this transition is concerned,” selectman chairman Art Smadbeck said. “David, you’re staying involved. And Chris...fortunately for us you have all the credentials and criteria for being the acting chief.

He added: “From where we sit and all the interactions we’ve had, I agree with the chief that definitely you could do this job.”

Selectman Michael Donaroma thanked Mr. Rossi. “We’re sorry to see you go, but happy to see you here,” he said.

“I’m glad to be here,” Mr. Rossi said.

Mr. Rossi told the Gazette that he’s beginning a long rehabilitation process. “It took a lot out of me,” he said, and he is limited to walking small distances. In the future, he said, he hopes to be back at the YMCA.

Stepping down unexpectedly was an easy decision, he said. “It was a no-brainer for me. Family, then job. Both are important, but not as important as my family.”

“I’m expecting my first grandchild in January,” he added. “I want to be around for that.”

Mr. Rossi was named to the top post at the police department two and a half years ago, following the retirement of former Chief Antone Bettencourt.

Chief Rossi’s brother, Daniel Rossi, is the chief of police in West Tisbury. He recently announced his retirement, as did Chief Daniel Hanavan in Vineyard Haven.