‘Jaws’ child actor becomes police chief in the town the movie was filmed

"I’m finding the whole thing quite funny myself!" said Jonathan Searle

Jonathan Searle, who had a small part as a child in the classic movie Jaws, will soon become the police chief of the town in which the movie was made.

Jaws was filmed in Oak Bluffs, a town on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts throughout 1974, and released the following year. In the film, Searle and his real-life brother Steven play two children who stage a shark hoax using a fake fin, fooling the residents of the fictional town of Amity.

Searle has been a member of the town’s police force since 1985. In 2008, his career paralleled his role in the film, when according to NBC Philadelphia he was involved in charging a man with disorderly conduct for lying about there being sharks in the area.


In 2019 the Edgartown Police Department to which he belongs paid tribute to his role in Jaws in a social media post marking the film’s anniversary. “Anytime we can show off the fact that Sgt. Searle was in Jaws is a good day!!” they wrote.

Searle’s promotion to chief was confirmed on May 16, following a 3 – 1 vote, and interviews with two other prospective candidates. “I’m clearly elated and and I’m humbled and honored to have been offered the position,” Searle told The Vineyard Gazette. “It’s something I’ve been working toward my whole career.”

Asked by The New York Post about his journey from Jaws to police chief, Searle said: “I’m finding the whole thing quite funny myself!”

Last year, meanwhile, it was revealed that Steven Spielberg turned down a reboot of Jaws at Universal.

Details in a new Deadline report describing the filmmaker’s forthcoming production deal with Netflix revealed that his production company Amblin had previously been in talks with the studios, making it clear that the answer had always been “a firm no”.