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Battle of Badges raises over $8,000

Law enforcement says real winner is the Salvation Army
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Law enforcement went above and beyond the call duty in an annual cross-town battle this week. Staff and volunteers from the Auburn Police Department, Placer County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol donned their uniforms and Santa Claus hats to ring the bells in the annual Battle of the Badges competition Wednesday to raise money for the Salvation Army. The three agencies raised a combined total of about $8,175 in one day, which is about $100 more than last year’s donation amount of $8,094, according to Ashlee Southworth, kettle coordinator for the Salvation Army. “They outdid themselves this year,” Southworth said. Southworth said the Placer County Sheriff’s Office raised the most money again this year, bringing in about $3,789. The California Highway Patrol took second place with $2,240 and Auburn Police were a close third with $2,146. Battle of the Badges pits local law enforcement agencies against in each in a contest to see which one raises the most money in one day for the Auburn Salvation Army. Ed Loomis, a longtime volunteer with the Salvation Army, said it’s one of the best fundraising efforts he’s seen over his 23 years in the organization. On Wednesday, he was at the Raley’s Bel Air parking lot of Highway 49 where CHP officers and Placer Sheriff’s deputies were vying for donated dollars. Some officers and deputies mounted horses to patrol the parking lot and collect donations from drivers. Others donned Christmas hats and rang bells as music — including the theme from television show “ChiPs” — blared from a nearby speaker. “These guys have a tremendous amount of fun doing it and the end result is amazing,” Loomis said. “With kettle donations down this is really going to be a shot in the arm for us.” Loomis said the Salvation Army is behind by about $10,000 this year in terms of donations from kettle bell ringers. Across town at the Savemart grocery store located off Elm Avenue, Auburn Police Department officers and volunteers were taking turns during their lunch hours to ring the bell. Capt. John Ruffcorn said two different people had each dropped in $100 bills during his shift with the bell. “We really enjoy being out here and helping out this fine organization,” Ruffcorn said. He said while the city department doesn’t have horses to attract donations, he said Auburn police are hoping that their manpower will bring in more donations than the other departments. Undersheriff Devon Bell said Wednesday that the competitive spirit was in the air. “We’re having a lot of fun with the competition but the real winners will be the Salvation Army and the people they serve,” Bell said. Capt. Bill Donovan with the Auburn CHP said after just a few months in the office, he started hearing some of the competitive talk surrounding the annual event. He said his department was happy to bring out their horses and officers. “We want to do whatever we can do to help,” Donovan said. As Ruffcorn and other Auburn Police volunteers refilled candy canes near their kettle and chatted about the day’s earnings so far, Colfax woman Kimberly Bright stopped by to drop in a donation. “It’s just a yearly tradition,” Bright said of her donation to the Salvation Army. “I think they do a great job helping families every Christmas.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com.