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Southern California’s ‘Battle of the Badges’ blood donation contest among first responders kicks off

The Battle of the Badges, an annual friendly blood donation competition between Southern California law enforcement and fire agencies, is underway, with a goal of boosting donations by the general public as well.

The blood drive is the largest among law enforcement and first responders in the nation, officials said. First responders have donated a total of 50,000 units of blood since the contest’s inception in 2007.

L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna attends a news conference announcing this year’s “Battle of the Badges” blood-donation campaign on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at LAPD Headquarters. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Red Cross Chief Ex. Officer Joanne Nowlin and Regional Donor Services Ex. Jay Winkenbach meet with LAPD Chief Michel Moore and L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna during a news conference to announce this year’s “Battle of the Badges” blood-donation campaign on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at LAPD Headquarters. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

LAPD Chief Michel Moore and L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna hold a news conference to announce this year’s “Battle of the Badges” blood-donation campaign on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at LAPD Headquarters. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna speaks during a news conference to announce this year’s “Battle of the Badges” blood-donation campaign on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at LAPD Headquarters. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

LAPD Chief Michel Moore, L.A. Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley and L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna hold a news conference to announce this year’s “Battle of the Badges” blood-donation campaign on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at LAPD Headquarters. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Red Cross Chief Ex. Officer Joanne Nowlin and L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna meet during a news conference to announce this year’s “Battle of the Badges” blood-donation campaign on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at LAPD Headquarters. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

L.A. City Councilman John Lee, LAPD Chief Michel Moore, L.A. Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley and L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna hold a news conference to announce this year’s “Battle of the Badges” blood-donation campaign on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at LAPD Headquarters. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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“It takes a village,” Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley said during a Wednesday morning news conference. “And as first responders, we are reminded each and every day of how critical it is to participate in events like this. Every single day, that need for blood is there.”

Crowley added that although the Battle of the Badges is a friendly challenge, she went on the record predicting an LAFD victory.

Last year’s event yielded 2,500 units of blood, and this year’s goal is 3,000 pints. The contest is geared toward law enforcement, but officials encouraged members of the public to also participate.

“It can be any given day where unfortunately a family member of yours may need this blood,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said.

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More than 80 blood drives are scheduled for the contest through March 31. Those who are eligible to donate blood can schedule an appointment via the Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org and entering sponsor code BOB23 or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

“This is a very difficult time and challenging time across the country to collect blood because of winter storms and illnesses,” said Joanne Nowlin, CEO of American Red Cross’ Los Angeles region. “And LA is often looked to — to provide the blood not only for our community but around the country.”

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore, serving as the chair of this year’s event, said his officers are ready to “roll up their sleeves.”

“I look forward to us getting into it the next three months, and filling that desperate need with this critical life-saving blood,” Moore said

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