Becoming special sheriff won't be easy for Shaq

BY foxsports • November 24, 2009

CLEVELAND (AP) Becoming one of Ohio's uniformed officers won't be a cakewalk for Shaquille O'Neal.

Hoping to further his off-the-court career in law enforcement, the Cleveland Cavaliers star has applied to become a special deputy in the Buckeye state. But the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Sunday that O'Neal must pass an examination and undergo training first.

The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy is currently reviewing O'Neal's qualifications.

"It appears that Mr. O'Neal will need to undergo substantial additional training as well as successful completion of the state certification examination before he can become a certified peace officer in the state of Ohio," said Holly Hollingsworth, spokeswoman for the state attorney general.

O'Neal would not be allowed to carry a gun and make arrests without that training, Hollingsworth said. If approved, O'Neal would have the right to carry a gun and make arrests but he would not be a paid, formal employee.

Last month Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid notified the state academy, which determines officers' eligibility, that he will make O'Neal a deputy if he is approved by the state.

O'Neal previously served roles with law enforcement agencies in Arizona, Virginia and Florida. The sheriff's Office submitted additional paperwork from Arizona to the state last week on behalf of O'Neal.

O'Neal wants the state certification to work with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children task force, Reid said.

O'Neal will need to complete 30 of hours of police training within six months and pass both the Ohio police examination and a shooting test in order to maintain the appointment, Hollingsworth said.

O'Neal shot targets at a sheriff's shooting range last week, and results from that test and his fingerprints were submitted to the state, Reid said.

Special sheriffs are often used to supplement law enforcement staffing for special events. They typically include retired officers who use the commission to work private security jobs.

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