Originally created 08/30/99

Home front: Officer pumped about radio, weights

The low, booming voice sounds familiar, but you can't quite place it.

"Dear, would you like to know my radio name? I'm Boomer Daniels," explains Danny Clark, 42, who is a disc jockey for North Augusta radio station WEKL (102.3 FM).

The voice matches the personality of this energized man who readily admits that he sometimes goes overboard in his quests.

His quests include becoming an award-winning body-builder, dropping out of high school to join the carnival and later achieving his high-school equivalency degree so he could become a police officer.

The late-night radio show is only part-time.

"My radio gig is very important to me," said Deputy Clark, adding that he's still learning the broadcasting business.

By day, Deputy Clark carries a badge and a gun. As part of the Richmond County Sheriff's Department's fugitive warrant division, he's responsible for issuing warrants and protecting courtrooms and judges.

"I've seen prisoners jump off the stand, witnesses jump off the stand at attorneys. Basically, anything that can go wrong will. I have to be alert at all times," Deputy Clark said. "Watching prisoners, especially. A lot of those guys have nothing to lose."

At night, Deputy Clark can be found in the gym. But bodybuilding isn't just a hobby. Last month, he won a silver medal for bench-pressing in his weight class in the World Police-Fire Games in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Olympic-style games attracted more than 8,000 law-enforcement officers worldwide and more than 250 from the United States.

Deputy Clark represented Richmond County, with two of his training buddies and fellow officers. Sheriff's Deputy Jerry Haley and Cpl. Andy Carrier of the Georgia State Patrol won gold medals in bench-pressing and powerlifting for their weight classes. Robert Partaine, also a sheriff's deputy, coached the three competitors throughout the games.

Each had to get permission from their supervisors before entering the games.

"We were real excited," sheriff's Chief Deputy Ronald Strength said. "We felt as if we were a part of it because these guys are members of our department."

"We trained very hard for a year," Deputy Clark said. "I was benching up to 400 pounds in the gym. In Sweden, they were very strict. You couldn't move your head or any other body part."

Originally, Deputy Clark was hoping to enter events in bench-pressing and power-lifting with his friends but an accident sidetracked him. Less than two months before the games, a 405-pound weight fell on his leg, tearing ligaments.

"I couldn't walk, but I was so determined," he said. "I wouldn't stop. I couldn't give up."

He was determined to be different. That's why he dropped out of school in the 11th grade and hitched up with the carnival.

"There was good money in the carnival, but no future," Deputy Clark said.

For 10 years, he drove a tractor-trailer for carnivals, traveling from city to city. His stops included Nashville, Tenn., Tampa, Fla., Dallas, Winston-Salem, N.C., and Montreal. But New York City captured his heart.

"I loved it. It's a fabulous city," he said. "The sights you see are just so uncommon. But the winters were too severe for this Southern boy.

"I still keep in touch with my carnie buddies. To this day, they can't believe I'm a deputy."

That's exactly what he later became when he made his way back to Augusta and a friend persuaded him to earn his general equivalency degree and join the sheriff's department. He was hired as an undercover narcotics agent.

"I hated it. You deal with the scum of the earth. I didn't trust them at all," he said. "I looked like the typical dope dealer -- long hair, bleached-out rat tail, earring, snakeskin boots, a beard. And I flashed the cash."

After a year, his cover was blown. So his superiors placed him in the police academy and assigned him to road patrol.

He has worked for the sheriff's department for 12 years, working with the traffic patrol, the DUI task force and the SWAT team before switching to the fugitive warrant division.

Deputy Clark hopes to be promoted to a sergeant in the road patrol or the traffic division. Meanwhile, he's living the quiet life -- riding his Harley motorcycle and spending time with his two children, Jordan and Heather.

They're "good kids" who think it's "cool" that dad is a radio personality, Deputy Clark said. "I'll call their names out (on the radio) and they just get a kick out of it."

Deputy Clark works out daily in preparation for the next World Police-Fire Games.

"In 2001, I'll be in Indianapolis," he said, "and I'll bring home the gold."

Jessica Rinck can be reached at (706) 823-3225 or jessica.rinck@augustachronicle.com.


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