Jaws Child Actor Becoming Police Chief in Martha's Vineyard, Where Iconic Movie Was Filmed

·2 min read
A beach ad on a lifeguard tower at Santa Monica Beach for the re-release of movie, "JAWS" is scaring children and foreign tourists from going into the water, but county officials say the ads are generating funds to maintain the beach.
A beach ad on a lifeguard tower at Santa Monica Beach for the re-release of movie, "JAWS" is scaring children and foreign tourists from going into the water, but county officials say the ads are generating funds to maintain the beach.

Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times via Getty

Jonathan Searle, who had a small part in the classic movie Jaws, will soon become the police chief in Oak Bluffs, a town on Martha's Vineyard — the Massachusetts island where the 1975 film was made.

The move was approved by a vote of 3-1 on May 16, according to the Vineyard Gazette, which was the first to report the news.

Searle, who grew up on Martha's Vineyard and has been a member of the Edgartown Police Department since 1986, will take over the reins in June, when the current police chief is set to retire, per the newspaper.

Searle's brief foray into acting isn't a secret, with the Edgartown Police Department even sharing a special social media tribute in 2019 to coincide with the film's 44th anniversary.

"Also, anytime we can show off the fact that Sgt. Searle was in Jaws is a good day!!" they wrote.

Sergeant Jonathan Searle selected as the next Oak Bluffs Police Chief
Sergeant Jonathan Searle selected as the next Oak Bluffs Police Chief

Edgartown Police Department/Facebook Sergeant Jonathan Searle (right)

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Fans of the movie may get a particular kick out of Searle's career path given the role he played in the film.

Searle and his real-life brother played two kids who staged a shark hoax with a cardboard fin, sending the beachgoers in the fictional town of Amity into a tizzy, per NBC Philadelphia.

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In 2008, Searle was even responsible for charging a man with disorderly conduct for lying about having seen sharks in the area, per the outlet.

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For Searle, becoming police chief is a big honor.

"I'm clearly elated and I'm humbled and honored to have been offered the position," he told the Gazette last week. "It's something I've been working toward my whole career."

The position has an extra layer of personal significance, since his father, George Searle, was a police chief in Edgartown from 1981-1995, per the newspaper.

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As for the media frenzy about his lasting connection to Martha's Vineyard? Searle's getting a kick out of that too.

"I'm finding the whole thing quite funny myself!" Searle, 56, told The New York Post on Thursday.