Shaq appears in LA Port Police ad as Gavin Newsom promises to finally refund police with $267M to fight retail theft

News & Politics

Former NBA champion and current commentator Shaquille O’Neal appeared in a commercial for the Los Angeles Port Police just days after California’s Governor Gavin Newsom promised to provide new funding to jurisdictions across to state to battle retail theft.

O’Neal, who attended Los Angeles County’s Reserve Academy, officially became a reserve officer for the Los Angeles Port Police in 2005. He also became a reserve officer in South Florida in 2015.

“Team is more important than any one of us. If you have what it takes to join the Los Angeles Port Police, come on down. It’s time to dive in,” O’Neal said in the recruitment ad.

“Big thanks to @Shaq for his continued support for law enforcement and spending time with his old police department. It was great to see him back in our uniform!” the port police wrote on X.

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The September 14, 2023, ad came just two days after Governor Newsom announced a state investment to battle retail theft, a crime that has been rampant across the state and caused several major businesses to flee city centers, such as Sacramento and San Francisco.

Over $267 million in total was promised across 55 law enforcement agencies throughout the state, which will include up to $23 million for 41 sheriffs’ and police departments, as well as one probation department.

Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, Sacramento County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, and Ventura County are all targeted with funding, and individual targets have been set for certain jurisdictions. For example, Sacramento will have a targeted increase of 20% in retail theft arrests, while San Francisco will receive funding for a crackdown on the sale of stolen goods.

“Enough with these brazen smash-and-grabs. With an unprecedented $267 million investment, Californians will soon see more takedowns, more police, more arrests, and more felony prosecutions. When shameless criminals walk out of stores with stolen goods, they’ll walk straight into jail cells,” Governor Newsom said.

Another 13 district attorneys’ offices across California will get up to $2 million each as well to fund new teams dedicated to prosecuting organized retail theft and to establish county-wide “intelligence centers.”

The funding is also specifically meant to curtail vehicle and catalytic converter theft.

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