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Red Cross sticks it to local police, fire departments in annual blood drive

By Ashley Nerbovig

This article was published June 9, 2014 at 2:42 p.m.

little-rock-police-give-blood-at-the-clinton-presidential-center-as-they-compete-in-the-sixth-annual-battle-of-the-badges-a-contest-in-which-little-rock-police-and-fire-departments-pit-themselves-against-their-north-little-rock-counterparts-to-see-who-can-donate-the-most-blood

Little Rock police give blood at the Clinton Presidential Center as they compete in the sixth-annual Battle of the Badges, a contest in which Little Rock Police and Fire departments pit themselves against their North Little Rock counterparts to see who can donate the most blood.

Sixth-annual Battle of the Badges blood drive

The Clinton Presidential Center on Monday hosted the sixth-annual Battle of the Badges, a contest in which Little Rock Police and Fire departments pit themselves against their North Little Rock counterparts to see who can donate the most blood. (By Ashley Nerbovig)
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The sixth-annual Battle of the Badges began Monday at the Clinton Presidential Center, where Little Rock police officers showed up to give a little of their time and blood.

Ever since the American Red Cross first approached Little Rock and North Little Rock Police and Fire departments in 2008, it's been a hot competition between the the two sides of the Arkansas River to see who could donate the most blood.

Little Rock police officer Beth Bakalekos, whose blood type is O negative, said the whole point of the drive is to help out the local blood supplies in case of an emergency.

"And to beat North Little Rock," Bakalekos quipped.

Little Rock Police Lt. Sidney Allen said neither side gets a prize — just bragging rights until the next year.

All competition aside, Red Cross donor representative Phanie Wicks said all the blood donations are appreciated.

"One donor can save up to three lives. And with one donor saving up to three lives, this [drive] is great for the community," Wicks said.

Wicks said the Red Cross is especially in need of O-negative, O-positive and B-negative blood, as well as CMV-negative blood — a blood type used for transfusions in newborns — and blood for sickle cell patients.

Little Rock Police Capt. Mike Davis, whose blood type is B positive, said that while he participates in this drive every year, he donates blood about every eight weeks regardless.

"It's a good way to give back to the community and the Red Cross and those in need," Davis said.

Davis said that while the Little Rock Police and Fire departments have lost to North Little Rock for the past few years, the big push to get officers out this year should help Little Rock get back on the "winning side of things."

North Little Rock's drive is scheduled for June 20.

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