When he’s not joking around on his TNT show “Inside the NBA,” and when he’s not starring in one of his many commercials, Shaquille O’Neal spends his time working in law enforcement.
The Daily Mail reports the retired NBA star has become an auxiliary deputy with the Broward’s County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, which was revealed Friday on Facebook.
“Basketball legend Shaquille O’ Neal goes by many nicknames, and now added to that list is Deputy Shaq,” a message read on Broward County Sheriff’s Facebook page. “The big man now works as an auxiliary deputy with the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Gregory Tony sat down with Shaq and the two talked about the different ways law enforcement works to keep communities safe.”
Those surprised the ex-center has devoted his time to law enforcement shouldn’t be, because in 2016 he was sworn in as an honorary deputy in Clayton County, Ga., and one year prior he took a deputy marshal oath in Lafayette, La. Plus, he’s a reserve officer in Arizona, California, as well as Florida.
And in 2017, during an interview with Atlanta TV station WXIA, O’Neal said “In 2020, I plan on running for sheriff,” hinting that he might consider a run in the metro Atlanta suburb of Henry County, where he has a home.
In the past, O’Neal has said he wants to restore the relationship between the community and police officers, which fuels his passion for working with various police departments.
On top that, just last Wednesday, March 13, the former Los Angeles Laker said he’s in favor of putting armed police officers in every school to avoid shootings.
“I think the quick fix now is the government should give law enforcement more money and you recruit more people, and those guys that are not ready to go on the streets, you put them in front of the schools,” he explained. “You put them in front of the schools, you put them behind the schools, you put them inside the schools.”
O’Neal’s comments, coming in the same week his new honorary post with Broward County was announced, invite a comparison to what happened when that county had a law enforcement officer on the scene when actual school shooting began. On Feb. 14, 2018, armed school resource officer Scot Peterson, a Broward Sheriff’s deputy, was on hand at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when shooter Nikolas Cruz began a mass shooting that took 17 lives. Peterson took up position outside the school and out of the line of fire as students were massacred inside.
There were plenty of comments under the Facebook post about O’Neal working with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and many thought it was a solid move on his part. But there were some who thought it was merely a PR stunt.
Then there were a few who just left humorous comments under the post.
“Talk about long arm of the law,” someone wrote about O’Neal.