Shaquille O’Neal has a heart as big as his frame.
The NBA legend was on his way to a Thanksgiving food giveaway for the Broward County Sheriff’s Department this week when he came across a car crash. The former star decided to stop so he could comfort some children who had been shaken up in the ordeal, and Radar Online had photographs of the touching moments Shaq shared with the young kids.
Since retiring from the NBA in 2011, Shaq has slid into a semi-career in law enforcement. He had done some volunteer work for sheriff’s departments — mostly ceremonial duties that have him working with the community. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, he was recently sworn in as a deputy in the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department, which announced the position in a boastful Facebook post.
“When Shaquille O’ Neal raised his hands to be sworn in by ‘THE CRIME FIGHTER’, he became the tallest deputy in the history of the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office!” Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill posted. “Welcome to the crime fighting family Shaq!!”
Shaquille O’Neal has some bigger aspirations when it comes to fighting crime. As Business Insider reported, Shaq has said he is interested in running for sheriff in Henry County, Georgia, in 2020. As O’Neal told the news outlet, he had been increasing his work in law enforcement and wants to find more ways to serve his community.
He even got some formal training in law enforcement that he hopes to put into action.
“When I was in LA, I went through a full-fledged police academy, so I know the hard work and dedication that these guys put in to keep people safe,” he said. “Me running for sheriff — I’ve felt, over the past couple of years, there’s been a disconnect from the community and police.”
Big Heart! Ex-Basketball Star Shaquille O'Neal Comforts Kids Involved In Car Crash - Radar Online https://t.co/H8ZY3aFz8o— Shaq ONeal club (@ShaqONealclub) November 24, 2018
Shaq said he hopes to bring back the idea of community policing, wherein officers would be assigned to a certain neighborhood and got to know everyone who lives there. That would increase trust between members of the community and police and lead to more effective law enforcement, O’Neal said.
Shaquille O’Neal also practices what he preaches when it comes to working directly with the community. A viral video from 2016 showed a Florida police officer who joined in a group of kids playing basketball in the street after one of the neighbors called in a noise complaint. The officer later returned with backup — in the form of the 7-foot-1 Shaq, who played ball with the starstruck kids.