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Salisbury firefighters, police officers compete in flag football for charity

Charity Game Organizers

SALISBURY — What began as a joke about who would win a football game — police officers or firefighters — turned into a competition in which the winners’ charity would collect the spoils.

Later this month, teams from the Salisbury Police Department and Salisbury Fire Department will play against each other in a flag football game that will raise money for a local charity, said firefighter Wesley Jackson.

Jackson coaches football at Salisbury High School and got into a friendly argument with police Officer Malik Byrd, who was working at a game.

“The game was on Friday, and by Sunday we planned it,” Jackson said.

The Battle of the Badges will be fought at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Knox Middle School field. Admission is $1.

There will also be a $1-per-ticket raffle of several items including Hornets game tickets and a one-day pass to the Eagle Guns & Range in Concord. Salisbury High will staff a concession stand.

“I understand they want to be competitive, but I wanted to make it a community engagement event,” said police Officer S. Taylor.

If the Fire Department team wins, proceeds will benefit the Salisbury-Rowan County Chapter of the N.C. Firefighters Burned Children Fund. The Police Department will vote on its chosen charity later this week.

Taylor said raffle prizes have been donated so that all the proceeds can go to the charity.

This isn’t the first time the departments have battled in a friendly competition. They’ve played against one another in softball and basketball. There will be 15 players for each team, who have already been selected. Each player must be a current employee of the respective department.

It’s an opportunity to “come together in a fun way,” Taylor said.

Referees for the game will include Salisbury Fire Marshal Terry Smith, retired veteran law enforcement officer Mark Shue and Salisbury police Officer Isaac Miller.

Sparky the Dog and McGruff the Crime Dog will both be on hand.

“We’re trying to bring the community out so they can see us other than on calls,” Taylor said.

She added it’s also a way for residents to see that firefighters and police officers are a part of the community.

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