Edgartown police chief David Rossi is stepping down after more than 25 years with the Edgartown police department following a recent heart attack, becoming the third Island police chief to announce his departure in less than a month. Half the towns on the Island are now in search of new leaders for their police departments.

Chief Rossi told Edgartown selectmen on Monday that he had a heart attack on Nov. 17. 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 said, dressed in plain clothes instead of his police uniform. He said there are some requirements to do his job that are heart related.

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.”

Selectmen approved Mr. Rossi’s request to begin the process of disability retirement. He has been on injury leave since the heart attack.

Earlier this month, Chief Rossi’s brother Daniel announced his decision to retire next year after nine years leading the West Tisbury department. And Tisbury police chief Dan Hanavan is not expected to renew his contract, which expires June 30.

Six police chiefs in total serve Martha’s Vineyard, one for each Island town. In addition to the three recent vacancies, Chilmark police chief Brian Cioffi resigned in December 2016, with Jonathan Klaren taking over the position in March.

Oak Bluffs Chief Erik Blake is the longest serving police chief on the Island, having served in the capacity since 2003. He said he is considering his own retirement, but expects to remain in his job for at least the next two years.

“Everyone makes their decisions based on their family and where they are, and what they want to do,” Chief Blake said. “We love our jobs, but it comes to a point where it’s time to move on and start another chapter.”

There is a wide range of cooperation among the six Island police departments, all bound closely by geography. The Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force, the dispatching and radio systems at the communication center, and coordination of special events like the Oak Bluffs Fireworks, the Edgartown Fourth of July parade, and the Tisbury Street Fair reach across all Island departments.

Island police chiefs also meet monthly as part of the Martha’s Vineyard Law Enforcement Council.

“There are going to be a lot of fresh faces at the table,” said Chief Blake.

As of yet there have been no firm decisions on the line of succession in West Tisbury or Vineyard Haven. But in his letter of notice to retire, Chief Dan Rossi of West Tisbury recommended that Lieut. Matt Mincone succeed him as the next chief.

In Edgartown, Chief Rossi recommended Lieut. Chris 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.”

Mr. Rossi said there is no clear path for the next chief if Lieutenant Dolby does not want the job. 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.

In 2015, Jack Collins served as interim police chief for the town of Edgartown, while he evaluated the department and simultaneously led the search which led to the hiring of Chief David Rossi. Mr. Collins, who also serves as a labor attorney for Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, has helped more than 20 Massachusetts municipalities choose new chiefs. He said over the years, most towns have progressed from a mostly informal, in-town process of hiring, to an “assessment centered process” conducted by an independent outside firm.

Speaking generally, and not about any individual Island town, Mr. Collins said sometimes there are very specific requirements beyond general qualifications, in choosing a new chief.

“You really want to fit the chief to the community, whatever the department and the community need,” he said. “There are times when a community has experienced trauma, they may have had certain kinds of problems, and they need someone to come in and be a healing person. Other times, maybe things have gotten a little bit lax, they need somebody to come in and straighten the department out. It’s not one size fits all.”

Chief Blake echoed Mr. Collin’s ideas about the most critical factors to consider when choosing a successor. An extensive and fair search, he said, can give a new police chief validity in the community, whether it is an inside candidate or someone from off-Island.

“It shows that they are taking the time to really vet people and be on the same page with what they want,” Chief Blake said. “What are the values of the town and does that person see the same thing as you do. Are you on board with the way the townspeople want to be policed. One of the tenets of community policing is that you actually listen to your community and mirror the values of your community.”

Sara Brown contributed reporting.