Shaquille O’Neal made history yesterday. He became the largest law enforcement officer in the country, even if it as just a reserve police officer in South Florida.
The job does not pay anything and O’Neal said he would cover his own insurance. But he frequently talked about getting into law enforcement during his NBA playing days.
He has gone on ride-alongs in the past and has never wavered from his stated position. O’Neal did find it humorous that he’d be the only 7-foot-1, 330-pound police officer…anywhere.
Considering the current hostilities between the police and the Black community, putting a superstar athlete in a police uniform might serve to change the force’s image in the eyes of some African-American youngsters.
Doral police chief Donald De Lucca swore in O’Neal during a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. O’Neal had originally applied in September.
O’Neal, according to De Lucca, will commute to work from his homes in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. He added to the Miami Herald that O’Neal will not be joining in or raids or drug busts
De Lucca said the future Hall of Fame center will mostly participate in community work, serving some children can admire in law enforcement.
“We’re honored to have him as part of our team,” he said. “He’s a role model for today’s youth. He believes in the nobility of our profession.”
O’Neal has previously served as a reserve police officer for Miami Beach and Golden Beach in Florida, where De Lucca was also police chief, as well as in Tempe, Arizona and the Port of Los Angeles. Law enforcement is in Shaq’s family: Two of O’Neal’s uncles were police officers, while his stepfather was a sergeant in the army.
O’Neal told the Herald that he wanted to become a police chief or sheriff in the future, and hoped to learn from De Lucca. “He’s a great leader,” O’Neal said. “I’m learning from him, watching him. He’s a good friend of mine, and in order to become a great leader, you have to master their style and then create your own style.”