As a child, “The Incredible Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno would accompany his father to the firing range.
He remembers watching as his dad, a lieutenant with the New York Police Department, pumped four precise shots into a paper target.
“He said, ‘If you ever misbehave, the same will happen to you,’ ” Ferrigno recalled. “I thought, ‘OK, from now on I’ll have respect.’ ”
Ferrigno proved that Friday morning by becoming a reserve deputy with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.
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Sheriff Ian Parkinson swore in the beaming bodybuilder-turned-actor during a ceremony at the Sheriff Office’s Honor Farm building, in front of crowd included his wife, Carla, and Elaine LaLanne, widow of fitness guru Jack LaLanne.
“I’m really honored to be here,” Ferrigno said after his wife pinned a deputy’s badge to his lapel. “It means a lot to me.”
LaLanne said her late husband was “up in heaven” cheering Ferrigno on.
“Jack would be so proud,” said LaLanne, who gave Ferrigno a belt buckle printed with an image of Jack LaLanne and one of his favorite sayings: “Your waistline is your lifeline.”
» Related: At home with Lou Ferrigno in Arroyo Grande
Best known for his role on TV’s “The Incredible Hulk,” Ferrigno spent a seven-year stint on CBS’s “The King of Queens” and appeared in the comedy “I Love You, Man.” Most recently, he was a contestant on NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
In March, Parkinson praised Ferrigno as a “huge supporter of law enforcement.”
Ferrigno may come across as shy at times, Parkinson told The Tribune, “(But) when he talks about law enforcement, he gets so excited and animated. It’s like a 14-year-old kid.”
Ferringo, who divides his time between Arroyo Grande and Santa Monica, joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as a reserve deputy in 2006 after undergoing training for firearms, first aid and high-speed driving techniques.
In order to join the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, Ferrigno had to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, lie detector test and background check. He also had to get permission from Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to serve here.
“When you’re part of this department, it’s about trust,” Ferrigno said, stressing that he takes the job seriously. “It’s not like I’m getting a free badge. I’m a certified police officer.”
Ferrigno said he plans to spend 20 to 40 hours a month working with both departments, doing criminal investigation, weapons training and other duties.