Capitol Hill staffers came out in masses on Wednesday to hear about combating impaired driving, mainly because Shaquille O’Neal was in the room.
O’Neal’s legendary 19-year National Basketball Association career (and perhaps the free lunch) attracted people to the Hart Senate Office Building for the “Recognizing Law Enforcement’s Critical Role in the Fight Against Impaired Driving” event, held by the Foundation for the Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.
Last year, O’Neal was enlisted by the nonprofit to help with its project to stop traffic fatalities from impaired driving, especially due to drugs or alcohol.
“Keeping our roads safe from impaired driving is a top priority to me,” O’Neal said.
While going through Hart’s security checkpoint, all 7-foot-1-inch of him had to duck through the metal detector. Because it was a tight squeeze, O’Neal set off the alarm and Capitol Police had to wand him.
“Identifying drug-impaired drivers can be very difficult, time-consuming and costly,” he added. “That’s why we are working to make Congress more aware of the difficulties officers face and what can be done to help make our roads and communities safer.”
O’Neal also spoke about his time in law enforcement. He is a reserve police officer with the Doral Police Department in Florida.
While playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the early 2000s, O’Neal went through the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Reserve Academy.
In 2005, he was awarded an honorary U.S. Deputy Marshal title and served an honorary role on a task force to track down online child predators.
While with the Miami Heat in 2004, he trained to be a Miami Beach reserve officer.