SHERIFF'S CORNER: Celebrities with a Badge

We all have our favorite cop shows from the 60's to the 80's. From "Car 54, where are you?," "CHiPs," "T.J. Hooker," "Adam-12," "In The Heat of The Night," "Hill Street Blues," and there are many more. But, did you know that there are many celebrities that were actually cops or continue to serve in law enforcement?

In this edition of the "Sheriff's Corner", I bring you Celebrities with a Badge.

GENE RODDENBERRY

(Creator of Star Trek)

Roddenberry studied police sciences at Los Angeles City College and started working for the Los Angeles Police Department in 1949. He was assigned to the traffic division for over a year, then assigned to the public information office where he would write the speeches for the Chief of Police. He later became a technical advisor for a local television show which started his career in Hollywood.

SHAQUILLE O'NEIL

(Famous Basketball Player)

O'Neil has been a reserve police officer for many years. He has completed two police academies and has served with the Los Angeles Port Police, the Miami Beach Police Department and the Golden Beach Police Department. He is also an honorary U.S. Marshall and planned to run for Sheriff in 2020.

KEN OSMOND

(TV Actor)

Better known as Eddie Haskell from "Leave It to Beaver," Osmond became a Los Angeles Police Officer in 1970, serving as a motorcycle officer and vice cop. In 1980, he was shot five times while chasing a suspect, but was saved by his bulletproof vest and his belt buckle.

After the shooting he applied for a disability pension in 1984, but after an evidentiary hearing in 1986, the pension board denied his request. He appealed the determination to the Superior Court and in 1988 a judge overturned the board's denial and he was given a lifetime pension and retired from the department.

STEVE WILKOS

(Talkshow Host)

One of my favorites, Wilkos was a police officer with the Chicago Police Department for 14 years. When the "Jerry Springer" show was being filmed in Chicago, he was recruited to do part-time security on the show along with several other CPD officers. He subbed as the host on several occasions when Jerry Springer was absent, which led to him getting his own talk show in 2007.

BARNEY MARTIN

(TV Actor)

Martin is best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld’s dad, Morty, in the sitcom "Seinfeld." He also appeared in Mel Brooks’ "The Producers" and as a stand-in for Jackie Gleason on "The Honeymooners." Barney served as a New York City police officer for 20 years before his acting career.

DON CORNELIUS

(TV Show Host)

The famed creator of "Soul Train," which he hosted from 1971 to 1993, also served as a police officer with the Chicago Police Department before becoming a radio DJ.

DENNIS FARINA

(Movie and TV Actor)

Farina is best known for being a mobster, such as Jimmy Serrano in "Midnight Run" or Ray “Bones” Barboni in "Get Shorty." He also was the partner to Chuck Norris in "Code of Silence." He served with the Chicago Police Department for 18 years as a police officer and a detective. He was able to get into acting after being hired as a consultant for police shows.

LOU FERRIGNO

(TV Actor)

Better know to us as the "Incredible Hulk." Ferrigno has served on many police and sheriff departments as a reserve or posse member. Most notably was with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department, where he completed a police academy, bringing his training up to full peace officer status in 2012.

ELVIS PRESLEY

(Needs no introduction)

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll admired law enforcement, and was made an honorary officer in Denver and Memphis. He had a strong relationship with the Denver Police Department, which began after they provided security for one of his shows in 1970. He donated the money to pay for a department gymnasium.

His Memphis Police ID card states: "Captain Elvis A. Presley. Is regularly appointed and commissioned by the Memphis Police Department to enforce the ordinances of the city of Memphis and the criminal laws of the State of Tennessee. He is commended to those with whom he may have official business."

DON DIVIS

(Lake County 911 Director)

Most may know him as that friendly guy that is always in a good mood. However, you probably did not know that he is a retired Captain from the Berrien County Sheriff's Office and also served as the Watervliet Police Chief.

— This information is provided to you for clarification on specific laws, and not legal advice. This is not to be construed as a personal opinion, agreement or disagreement of any specific law. Topics covered are for educational and informational purposes only. As needed, excerpts from other articles are used for reference and/or content. If you have any questions on any specific topic, you may always email me your questions to rmartin@co.lake.mi.us.