Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal is giving new meaning to the phrase “long arm of the law by helping to chase down criminals on the Internet, reports the Miami Herald. O’Neal is a bona fide law enforcement officer with a badge, training, and a few arrests under his belt. He is a deputy federal marshal on a Department of Justice task force that hunts down online sexual predators who prey on children. This summer, he will fly to a secret location and be “right in the thick of undercover, online investigations,” says Sheriff Mike Brown of Bedford, Va., who is working with O’Neal on the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, Operation Blue Thunder.
“When I am done playing, I plan on going undercover and then being the sheriff or chief of police somewhere, either Miami or Orlando,” O’Neal said. He got the police bug from two uncles who worked in law enforcement. When two Los Angeles police patrol cars were burned during celebrations for the 2000 Lakers NBA title, O’Neal wrote a personal check for $42,893 to replace a car. Said Chief Ronald Boyd of the Los Angeles Port Police: “Shaquille is a natural. He’s the new generation of police officer. He’s very tech-savvy. He speaks the language. And he’s aware of what’s out on the street, so he’s good at finding the bad guys.”