Battle of Badges nets $7K for Salvation Army

PCSO ekes out another victory
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Local law enforcement traded friendly jabs Thursday all in the name of helping the community. The third annual Battle of the Badges took place at two Auburn grocery stores Thursday as three local law enforcement agencies rang the bells and competed against each other to raise the most money for Salvation Army’s holiday kettle donation drive. Friday afternoon, Salvation Army officials had tallied the numbers. Combined, the organizations pulled in $7,130.58, which beat out last year’s total of about $6,500 in donations, according to Michelle Talbott, Salvation Army social services director. “It’s the best of our season,” Talbott exclaimed. “(Battle of the Badges) really is the number one fundraising day on our kettles. It’s only three years old and it just gets better every year.” In Auburn, city police department volunteers staked out the entrances to Savemart supermarket. McGruff the Crime Dog joined volunteers Marilyn Chapman and Jack Warren. Chapman said she was enjoying her first time volunteering for the event because she was meeting new people. She said the drive is a good way for the community and law enforcement to connect. “We being the protectors of the community need to show we have a heart and spirit,” Chapman said. “It’s not just about doing our job.” A little further away, deputies from Placer County Sheriff’s Office were waging a full-scale battle against officers from California Highway Patrol at the entrance to Bel Air supermarket. The Sheriff’s Office had two horses, Santa patrolling the parking lot in a Hummer and had placed a trick sign behind one of the CHP’s vehicles saying the CHP kettle was broken. Both organizations had officers standing in the streets collecting donations as drivers passed through. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jeff Ausnow said deputies had to thwart a sneak attack from the CHP, which temporarily stationed officers inside of the store in front of the Sheriff’s Office kettle. “It’s all in good fun to try to raise money for the Salvation Army especially in these tough times,” Ausnow said. At a separate entrance to the store, CHP officers Mark Williams and Rich Schwieger said they didn’t need to showboat to prove they were successful. Schwieger said the organization had already filled three kettles before noon. “We don’t have to talk,” Williams said. “There are 58 counties in the state but only one CHP.” “We’re all about working and raising money,” Schwieger added. In the end, Talbott said the Placer County Sheriff’s Office continued their winning streak by pulling in $3,591.99 in donations. The California Highway Patrol was close behind with $3,061.85. The Auburn Police Department contributed $476.74 to the total. Sheriff Ed Bonner, who also joined the rivalry fun at Bel Air, said he enjoys the yearly competition. “We just get a kick out of it every year,” Bonner said. “My hat’s off to the competition.” In the end, Schwieger said there really is one main focus of the event. “The key is we’re able to raise money for the community,” Schwieger said. “That’s what our bottom line is.” The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment.