By Mary O’Keefe
CV Sheriffs are inviting the community to help them help others by donating blood.
On Jan. 19 the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station will be joining about 100 other agencies in the fourth annual Battle of the Badges.
“It started as a small blood drive but has really grown over the years,” said Deputy Jorge Valdivia.
Battle of the Badges blood drive is an American Red Cross sponsored event that will begin on Jan. 18 and run through Feb. 20.
“It started as a concept through the U.S. Probation office as a way to bring badge carrying personnel together for a positive cause,” said Nick Samaniego, public affairs manager for the American Red Cross.
That first year 12 agencies within law enforcement participated. This year it has grown to over 100 including Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange counties.
The blood drive is a competition between participating agencies.
“The agents [at the U.S. Probation office] that started the drive knew how competitive law enforcement members can be so they decided to [harness] that energy into the blood drive,” Samaniego added. “It is a friendly competition.”
Valdivia said the blood drive was a way for the CV Sheriff’s Station and the community to work together.
“There is a constant need for blood. I am getting calls from the American Red Cross all the time about participating in blood drives. The station participates in [large] blood drives about twice a year,” he said.
“Roughly 3% of eligible blood donors in Southern California donate blood, “ Samaniego said.
The reason for that low participation is unknown but Samaniego said with this type of competitive blood drive the Red Cross is trying to change that culture of not donating.
“It would be [great] if we no longer had to import blood from other areas and could be self sufficient,” he said. “This is an evergreen cause.”
There is not a specific month or season that blood is needed more than other times.
“The need is constant. People need transfusions every single day,” he said.