Spokesman John O'Brien of the Cuyahoga County sheriff's office says the Cavs center has applied to become a special deputy. He would have the right to carry a gun and make arrests but not be a paid, formal employee.
O'Neal previously served roles with law enforcement agencies in Arizona, Virginia and Florida.
The sheriff has forwarded the application to the state agency that must consider the request to deputize O'Neal.
State attorney general's spokeswoman Holly Hollingsworth says that if approved, O'Neal would need 36 hours of police training and would have to take the Ohio police exam.