Battle of the Badges Blood Drive 2023 nets nearly 60 units of blood

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department once again wins tri-agency competition

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.


For the eighth year in a row, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) edged past the Columbia Police Department (CPD), and the Columbia Fire Department (CFD) to win the annual BATTLE OF THE BADGES BLOOD DRIVE facilitated by the American Red Cross, Friday, May 26.

A total of 58 units of blood were collected from each of the three departments with simultaneous drives held at two locations: RCSD’s Region 2 substation at 2500 Decker Blvd and the City of Columbia’s Busby Community Center at 1735 Busby Street.

“I love giving blood,” says Deputy Sara Blann, RCSD’s senior public information officer. “It’s a simple hour out of your day in which you have the potential to save three lives.”

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott agrees.

“Giving blood is always easy, quick, painless, and necessary,” he says. “It quite literally saves lives, and the competition between agencies is always a lot of fun.”

Participants donated blood, received a free beach towel – it is summer after all – then voted for their favorite agency. This year, RCSD received 27 votes, far fewer than in previous years, but a glitch prevented voting during the first two hours at the RCSD Decker substation where many donors stopped by to give blood on their way to work.

“We clearly would’ve had higher vote numbers if the first two hours had been tallied,” says Blann. “Still we won, and a win is a win.”

RCSD has won the competition every year since 2016 when the blood drive was then billed as Boots and Badges. For most of the eight years, RCSD has collected between 80 and 50 units.

BATTLE OF THE BADGES 2023 began at 7:00 a.m. in both locations with the blood drive operations ending at 3:00 p.m.

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