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Pro-gay Shaq gets
his badge

Pro-gay Shaq gets
his badge

Look out gay bashers and assorted criminals, Officer Shaq is on the beat.

Shaquille O'Neal was sworn in as a Miami Beach reserve police officer Thursday, with the Miami Heat center choosing to skip a public event in favor of a quiet, no-frills ceremony. "Officer O'Neal is very considerate toward the other officers, and he was afraid if he was there he would have taken away from that moment for other officers," department spokesman Robert Hernandez said. "This is a very special time for them and their families."

The former Lakers center was a reserve officer in Los Angeles before moving to Florida. He spent the past year training as a Miami Beach police reserve officer and can now add the $1-a-year salary to his $100 million, five-year contract with the Heat. The 7-foot-1 player will be able to carry a gun, wear a badge, and make arrests, but with his celebrity status, he most likely will not walk a beat or go undercover. He will work as time permits in the volunteer position.

O'Neal made headlines in September when he helped make an arrest in an alleged gay-bashing incident. After seeing a man hit another man with bottle while yelling antigay slurs at a passerby, O'Neal trailed the attacker and helped an officer arrest him as a hate-crimes suspect.

O'Neal has said he is most interested in working with the special victims detective unit to help stop crimes against children. "He made it clear when he decided to go to Miami Beach that he didn't want to just be a poster boy for photo ops; he wanted to get down and dirty and do the job," Hernandez said. "He's here to conduct investigations and to make arrests." (AP)

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