Former Edgartown Police Sgt. Jonathan Searle was officially sworn in as Oak Bluffs Police Chief at Tuesday’s Oak Bluffs select board meeting.
Preceding the appointment, retiring Chief Erik Blake received applause from a packed room at the Town Hall. “On the behalf of the town of Oak Bluffs, I’d like to thank and recognize Chief Erik Blake for his 35 years of faithful and dedicated service to our town,” select board vice chair Gail Barmakian said.
Chief Searle repeated the words relayed by town clerk Colleen Morris in swearing to uphold his commitment to the town before being officially welcomed to the town of Oak Bluffs, which was met with extended applause by his colleagues and the public.
“I would like to thank the board of select persons for instilling their confidence in me,” he said, “[in addition to] the men and women of the Oak Bluffs Police Department. I have huge shoes to fill [in] my friend and classmate, Erik Blake, who I wish well.”
Searle turned to Blake, and the two chiefs embraced in a warm hug. Searle said, “You’ve set quite the precedent, and I have a [big] job ahead of me.”
Searle began to get emotional when addressing his supporters. “To everyone here, I can’t say enough,” he said, prompting another massive applause and second standing ovation. “The support is the only way you get here,” he said. “It’s the only way you survive your career, it’s the only way you get success, is through your friends, your colleagues, and most of all my family, my mom … thank you all.”
Town administrator Deborah Potter announced the Town Hall will be holding a “going-away party” for Blake, in addition to retiring Harbormaster Todd Alexander on June 30 — time TBD. The event will be open to the public.