Law enforcement, firefighters out for blood in Battle of the Badges
Local law enforcement and fire crews will be out battling for blood this week.
Battle of the Badges, an annual blood drive pitting the Dickinson Fire Department and Dickinson Rural Fire Department against the Dickinson Police Department, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Stark County Sheriff's Office, will be held at the Prairie Hills Mall on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Team Fire is the reigning champion.
"I'm confident that, even though it might be a bit limited in our involvement, that we'll still beat law enforcement," Dickinson Fire Chief Bob Sivak said.
Team Law did not lose by much last year, School Resource Officer Ron Van Doorne said.
"It's always been a really healthy, stiff competition and it kind of goes back and forth," Van Doorne said. "Regardless of who wins the competition, it's a great cause."
The event is one of the biggest blood drives of the year, said Stephanie Radenz, donor recruitment manager for the Bismarck office of United Blood Services.
"Battle of the Badges is really important to us with encouraging first-time donors," Radenz said. First-time donors make up 25 to 30 percent of Battle of the Badges donations.
"Due to the increased activity level and the impacts that's having on staff, I don't think we're going to be able to (play games), but we're going to support them as much as we can," Sivak said. In the past, Team Fire and Team Law have competed in remote control vehicle races and "Minute to Win It" type events.
This year's battle was moved up a few weeks and extended by a day to suit the needs of the blood supply and the donors, Radenz said. There were nearly 300 donations at last year's Battle of the Badges.
"Our crew that we work with, our fire and police, they've really been trying to beat Bismarck," Radenz said. "Honestly, I think this year they probably could."
While the event is largely walk-in based, appointments can be made online.
Not sure who to vote for?
"We have a coin that has fire on one side and law on the other and we let them flip it," Radenz said.
No matter who wins, both teams will come together Thursday to celebrate National Night Out, a Neighborhood Watch event.
"The National Night Out is a way for the locals to meet with local law enforcement and local law fire service, EMS and etc," Van Doorne said. "Because it is such a new community with so many new people here, it's an easy way for them to also get to know who their neighbors are."
The emergency crews will have stationary displays of vehicles and equipment, including the Bearcat and the Spirit helicopter.
The police will be serving hot dogs and hamburgers, and there will be games and a live band.
"We want to help everybody take back the night, take back their neighborhoods," Sivak said, "feel safe again."
Battle of the Badges will take place at the Kmart end of the Prairie Hills Mall from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Visit www.bloodhero.com to book an appointment, or walk in. Those donating blood are encouraged to eat a well balanced meal before voting for Team Fire or Team Law.
National Night Out is Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Biesiot Activities Center.