Paralympian serves as SDPD officer - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Paralympian serves as SDPD officer

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - If you ever get pulled over by Officer Jeff Skiba, don't try to get away on foot.

"I got in a foot race one time, chased the guy for about a half a mile, and he got tired and stopped. I put him in handcuffs. I didn't have the heart to tell him I was chasnig him with one leg," Skiba said.

Officer Skiba is a world-class athlete, and gold medalist in the high jump at the 2008 Paralympics.

"I wasn't one of those kids growing up who always wanted to be a cop," he said.

After winning gold in Beijing, he though he was done with the sport.

"I was looking into careers, started to look at law enforcement. I just liked what it stands for and everything else," Skiba said.

He's been with the SDPD about 2 1/2 years now. On the street and at the station, his prosthetic goes unnoticed.

"I've been working with guys two months everyday and then they see me in the locker room and say 'I had no idea you are missing a leg,'" Skiba said.

The physical tests at the academy were soundly passed. The six-foot wall in the obstacle course was a piece of cake, considering Skiba has cleared seven feet in the high jump. And he didn't do too bad in the 5-mile run, either.

"Going through the academy, the first couple of days people were surprised I had one leg, after the first 5-mile run for time I beat everybody else and they didn't cut me any slack after that," he said.

Skiba says he is on the force to serve.

"I like being out there working with people. In this position I feel like I'm in a position to help people out in times of need," he said.

His advice for those who have a disability is to realize they have ability.

"If there's something you want to do, go try to do it. Just cause you're missing an arm or a leg, doesn't mean you can't do everything you wanted to do," Skiba said.

Two years ago after watching a buddy win gold at the winter Olympics, he got the itch and is back jumping. He hopes to defend his gold medal in London.

"Going to the games in London and participating is great, but I want to leave with hardware," Skiba said.

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