The search for a new Tisbury police chief has been narrowed to five candidates from a field of 16, town administrator John (Jay) Grande said this week.

The five candidates, who have not been named, will be interviewed by the search committee later this month behind closed doors. The committee will then narrow the field to two or three finalists, whose names will be made public and who will interviewed in public by the selectmen. Mr. Grande said the public will have a chance to ask questions as well at a public forum that is planned.

“The police chief position is a very important position for any town, so that’s very important to treat it with this type of thoroughness,” Mr. Grande said.

The search committee was appointed by selectmen last month. Its members are school committee chairman Amy Houghton, Tisbury fire chief John Schilling, personnel board member Barbara Fortes, business association member Sarah York, assessor Roy Cutrer, West Tisbury police chief Matthew Mincone and Oak Bluffs police Lieut. Timothy Williamson.

The committee met for the first time last week to discuss the process.

Strategic Policy Partnership, a West Tisbury consulting company led by Robert Wasserman, is helping with the search. The consultants drafted the job description, fielded applications and recommended candidates for interviews.

Once two to three finalists are chosen, they will be invited to visit the department and tour the town, Mr. Grande said. They will be asked to give a presentation at a public forum and take questions from the community and selectmen. Final interviews are expected to take place in September.

Mr. Grande said he did not know how many of the applicants were from the Island and how many were from off Island.

Chief Daniel Hanavan plans to retire as soon as his successor is selected.

The search committee is scheduled to meet next at 8:30 a.m. on August 20 at the town emergency services building.