Tisbury selectmen appoint Michael O’Rourke full-time police officer

Tisbury police chief Dan Hanavan pins new officer Michael O'Rourke. — Photo by Janet Hefler

At the request of Police Chief Dan Hanavan, Tisbury selectmen unanimously approved the appointment of special officer Michael O’Rourke as a full-time police officer on Tuesday. Chief Hanavan said that Mr. O’Rourke joined the department about a year and a half ago and took classes on the Island to become an emergency medical technical.

He also attended the state police academy full-time for 26 weeks at his own expense and is now certified as a police officer in Massachusetts, Chief Hanavan said. Officer O’Rourke, 25, is a graduate of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and earned a degree in criminal justice from Curry College.

“I’ve had a lot of people excited that you’re going to be working in our town as a full-time officer, so I congratulate you,” selectman Tristan Israel said. Town clerk Hillary Conklin swore Officer O’Rourke in, and Chief Hanavan pinned on his new badge. A group of Tisbury police officers on hand congratulated him.

In other business, planning board member Cheryl Doble described the board’s proposal to conduct vision planning. She said the process will involve as many community members and other Tisbury stakeholders as possible in discussing and formulating ideas for the town’s future direction and development.

Ms. Doble said the planning board will conduct the first of three workshops, possibly this summer, to discuss community values and analyze information about the town’s resources and assets. Planning board members will staff a table at the Tisbury Street Fair next week to collect contact information from people interested in participating in the workshops, and to ask the public what they consider Tisbury’s critical issues. The selectmen voted to send a letter to the planning Board expressing their support of the vision planning.

Dan Seidman updated the selectmen on the Island Housing Trust’s (IHT) proposed Water Street Housing affordable housing project, which he said will undergo a public hearing as a development of regional impact before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) on July 10.

Mr. Seidman, the IHT’s treasurer and co-chairman of Tisbury’s planning board, said the six-unit affordable housing project will be about 31 feet high, built up on pilings to comply with updated flood plans for the harbor area. There will be no parking, since shopping, transportation, and other amenities are easily accessible, Mr. Seidman said. Selectman chairman Jon Snyder and Mr. Israel voted to send a letter to the MVC in support of the project. Selectman Melinda Loberg abstained because she was unfamiliar with all of the project’s details.

In other business, the selectmen also voted to approve Noah Stobie’s appointment as a traffic officer, and several other annual appointments to town boards and committees, including Nora Nevin to the Land Bank Advisory Board and Polly Brown to fill a vacancy on the Harbor Management Committee.