Ongoing staff shortages in the Tisbury police department were a topic for discussion with the town selectmen this week.

The department is heading into summer with seven full-time officers including the chief and lieutenant, Lieut. Eerik Meisner told selectmen at their meeting Tuesday. Sgt. Chris Habekost is currently on a two-week paid leave for personal reasons, town administrator Jay Grande later confirmed. The department is budgeted for 14 full-time officers.

The department has added six special officers for the summer, Lieutenant Meisner said. Special officers generally do not have police academy training.

Selectman Melinda Loberg asked if there are enough officers to adequately fill shifts.

“Yes, we are able to maintain an officer in charge on each shift,” Lieutenant Meisner said. He said special officers were taking one to two extra shifts per week.

Selectman James Rogers asked if special officers are regular first responders in an emergency, and Lieutenant Meisner replied yes, given staffing levels.

He also briefed selectmen on a recruiting plan for new full-time officers, including the status of special officers attending the police academy. He said with special officers graduating from the academy over the next year, full time staff could reach 13 by next summer.

In April, selectmen appointed former Chilmark police chief Brian Cioffi as a special officer. Lieutenant Meisner said Mr. Cioffi could be hired as a full time officer if selectmen would agree.

Mr. Cioffi abruptly resigned as Chilmark chief in 2016 for reasons that were never fully explained.

Lieutenant Meisner said he had received three applicant inquiries for full-time officer positions to date. He added that Chief Daniel Hanavan had attended the graduation of special police training on Island to recruit officers and had reached out to retired officers to see if they were interested in part-time work.

Meanwhile, a search is under way for a new police chief to replace Chief Hanavan, who is retiring. The town has hired the West Tisbury consulting firm Strategic Policy Partnership LLC, headed by Robert Wasserman, for the search. Applications are due by mail by the end of June.

Chief Hanavan’s contract runs out in June of 2019, but he has said he would like to retire this summer. He did not attend the meeting.