Much has changed in Edgartown in the past 50 years, but one thing has not: at every town meeting and election, a Searle was on hand, wearing a constable’s badge.

On March 16, 1967 voters gathered for a town meeting at the Edgartown School auditorium, agreeing to spend $150 to “maintain the opening” of the Fuller street beach, $10,000 for library expenses, and $500 for Little League baseball. Two days later George L. Searle was elected as town constable with 286 votes.

On Tuesday Edgartown gathered at the Old Whaling Church for another town meeting, authorizing $125,000 on beach nourishment at Fuller street beach, $282,000 for library expenses, and $100,000 for new rest rooms at the Vineyard Baseball Park. Jonathan Searle, George Searle’s son, was standing at the back of the room, counting voters and making sure there was a quorum on hand to take care of town business.

Earlier in the meeting town clerk Wanda Williams announced that the 49-year tradition of Searles serving in one of two constable spots would come to an end at Thursday’s town election, when Mr. Searle’s final term would be over. Jonathan Searle had been a town constable since 1996, when he stepped in to finish his father’s term as constable after he died.

“It was an honor to serve the town,” Mr. Searle said Thursday at town hall as voters trickled into the polling booths. He wasn’t wearing his badge for Thursday’s election; he was headed to Florida with his family for spring break. The town’s other constable, Scott Ellis, was overseeing the action at the polls.

Mr. Searle will continue to serve the town in his role as a detective with the Edgartown police department, another family legacy. His father was the town police chief.

The two town constables enforce the rules and regulations for town meetings and elections, monitor the quorum at town meetings, serve civil processes, post town meeting warrants in six conspicuous places around town, and enforce rules that require those with election signs to stay 150 feet away from the door to the polls.

“I always enjoyed it,” Mr. Searle said, especially working with Ms. Williams and attending town meetings. “I think town meeting is one of the best forms of democracy there is.”

William Bishop 4th, an Edgartown police officer, was the only candidate on the ballot to replace Mr. Searle as constable. “He’d always expressed interested in it,” Mr. Searle said, but he hadn’t wanted to run against anyone. With Mr. Bishop ready to go, Mr. Searle said, he felt confident it was time to move on.

As a few voters ducked behind the red and blue striped curtains during the town election Thursday, Mr. Ellis watched over the proceedings with an Edgartown constable badge pinned to his jacket.

Ms. Williams said the passing of Mr. Searle’s badge will be metaphorical; if Mr. Bishop is elected he’ll receive a new badge. Mr. Searle’s constable badge, once worn by his father, will stay in the family.