"Bionic" Officer Patrols San Diego

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCSanDiego

    On the outside, Jeff Skiba looks like a typical San Diego Police officer.  But when he pulls up his pant leg you understand why he isn't an ordinary officer.

    Officer Skiba has an artificial leg.

    'Bionic' Officer Patrols San Diego

    [DGO] 'Bionic' Officer Patrols San Diego
    When Jeffrey Skiba beat his police academy classmates in a five mile run, they quickly realized the kid who had lived most of his life without a leg wasn't going to let anything stop him. (Published Wednesday, May 26, 2010)

    "I was born without a fibula in my left leg, so the doctors decided to amputate my leg below the knee when I was ten months old,"said the 26-year old Skiba.

    Although, he has worn a prosthetic leg nearly all of his life, it hasn't prevented him from achieving his goals.

    "When I was in high school, I played basketball and the track coach saw how high could jump,"said Skiba. 

    From that point on, Skiba concentrated on fulfilling a dream of winning a Paralympic gold medal in high jumping.

    In 2004, he came close with a silver medal at the Athen's games.  A few years later he made history by becoming the first amputee to clear seven feet in a high jump.

    "It was like breaking the four minute mile,"said Skiba. 

    In 2008, Skiba finally realized his dream of winning a gold medal at the Beijing games.

    "I always thought growing up that I don't care that I'm missing a leg, I wanted to accomplish big things and I just worked as hard as I could,"said Skiba.

    His strong work ethic helped him get through the police academy.   He admits that some of his fellow classmates were skeptical that he could be an officer until they saw him run.

    "I beat them all in a five mile run, I was the first one to finish,"Skiba told NBCSanDiego.  "They were supportive and realized that I was going to be alright."

    Skiba is now in phase two of field training.  His training officer said he is destined to be a good cop. 

    "He's a big inspiration, not only for the San Diego Police Department but also the community,"said Ofc. Greg Brent.

    Officer Skiba is glad some people consider him a role model.

    "It's important for people to have role models and something for people to strive towards, I think that's great."

    Skiba's high jumping career isn't over.  He is currently training for the upcoming world championships.  After that he will try to make the Paralympic team for the 2012 games in London where he will defend his gold medal.