O’Neal has been through training with both the Los Angeles and Miami Beach police departments and has been made, rightfully, a reserve officer of each. While not his “day job,” so to speak, Shaq actually helped the Miami Police Department solve a hate crime — he witnessed the attack and promptly reported it to local authorities. And O’Neal also joined a Justice Department task force which, per that same article, “tracks down sexual predators who target children on the Internet.” In years past, he’s expressed a desire to make law enforcement his second career, but to date O’Neal hasn’t seen much in the way of live police work — with one unfortunate exception (which was not his fault). Just ask A.J. Nuckols.
On September 23, 2006, Nuckols and his family received a surprise visitor at the door of their rural Virginia home: a SWAT team. Per Nuckols (via the AP), “[m]en ran at me, dropped into shooting position, double-handed semiautomatic pistols pointed at me and made me put my hands against my truck.” He was — again, in his words, “held at gunpoint, taunted and led into the house” while the SWAT team executed a “paramilitary search-and-seizure team,” taking video tapes, DVDs, cameras, and computer equipment. Why were they there? A local internet service provider (ISP) informed the sheriff’s department that someone from a computer at Nuckols’ address had been downloading and trafficking child pornography. It turns out that the ISP erred on the location — the SWAT team was at the wrong house.
And with them on the raid? Reserve sheriff’s deputy Shaquille O’Neal.
From the Archives: Body Man: Like Shaq, Reggie Love played basketball (albeit only in college). His job after college? President Obama’s walking, talking iPad.
Related: “Becoming a Police Officer: An Insider’s Guide to a Career in Law Enforcement,” by Barry Baker, in case you’re interested in that career path.