‘Jaws’: This Child Star Is Now the Police Chief of Massachusetts Town Where the Classic Movie Was Filmed

by Taylor Cunningham

Little Jonathan Searle is all grown up and serving as the police chief of the same town that he pranked as a child star in Jaws.

Searle has been named the newest police chief of Oak Bluffs, MA. The town served as the fictional town of Amity when Steven Spielberg filmed his classic shark thriller nearly five decades ago. And the officer, like most people in general, can’t help but laugh over how his life has come full circle.

“I’m finding the whole thing quite funny myself!” the 56-year-old told The New York Post on May 19th.

The small coastal haven, which is part of Martha’s Vinyard, is home to only 5,000 full-time residents, which is why Speilburg was drawn to it while looking for a spot to film Jaws in 1975.

Oak Bluff’s board welcomed Jonathon Searle into his post with a 3-1 vote, thanks to his years of being a public servant.

While the actor-turned-officers started helping his town’s success by starring in the movie as a boy, his role was far from law-abiding. In the story, he was one of the two delinquents who stirred up mass chaos by swimming in the ocean with a cardboard fin.

The blockbuster ended up grossing an impressive $472 million at the box offices, which no doubt spurred Searle’s local economy.

‘Jaws’ Star Johnathan Searle Always Dreamed of Being a Police Chief

According to The Post, when the police chief starred in Jaws, he wasn’t on track to be a Hollywood star. He simply stumbled upon the job because he was born and raised in Martha’s Vinyard. And the role is his one and only acting credit.

Instead, Searle always planned on following in his family’s footsteps by becoming a police officer. His father, police chief George Searle, served for thirty years. And he held the chief spot from 1981 to 1995. The Jaws star joined the PD in neighboring town Edgartown back in 1986.

“I’m clearly elated and I’m humbled and honored to have been offered the position,” he told his local newspaper the Vineyard Gazette. “It’s something I’ve been working toward my whole career.”

In his movie, Officer Brody had to save his town from a man-hungry great white. And like most people, watching the story play out gave him a healthy fear of sharks. For that very reason, he hopes that he never has to meet any real-life ocean beasts.

But he did come close to it in 2008 when a shark sighting made headlines in his town. After a man told swimmers that he saw “two huge great white sharks swimming” in the waters of Martha’s Vineyard, Searle had to investigate.

Luckily, the sharks did not exist. And ironically, the tale was similar to something his character would have told in Jaws. Apparently, the man who told papers about the great whites was also a prankster. But unlike Searle in the movie, the man didn’t get away with a warning. In the end, he ended up being charged with disorderly conduct.