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Heat's O'Neal Is the New Sheriff in Town

Thursday, March 3, 2005; Page D02

Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal set a size-22 foot on Capitol Hill yesterday to receive an Honorary Deputy U.S. Marshal badge and become the national spokesperson for the Safe Surfin' Foundation, a group affiliated with the Bedford County, Va., sheriff's department that targets Internet crime against children.

O'Neal, 32, has a history in law enforcement. He attended the Los Angeles County police academy while playing for the Lakers, and cited experiences riding along with his longtime bodyguard, Jerome Crawford, a former police lieutenant, as influencing his decision to get into law enforcement. O'Neal's stepfather also was an army sergeant.

"When I'm done playing, I would like to be a sheriff," said honorary deputy Shaquille O'Neal, in Washington yesterday. (Rich Lipski -- The Washington Post)

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"When I'm done playing, I would like to be a sheriff," said O'Neal, a 12-time all-star. "There are way too many sexual predators out there that harm our children." According to Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown, O'Neal's role will primarily be educational, appearing in public service announcements and in Safe Surfin' literature. But just in case he feels like heading out in a patrol car, the county specially outfitted one of its police cars to accommodate O'Neal's 7-foot-1, 325-pound frame.

-- Liam Dillon

© 2005 The Washington Post Company