Battle of the Badges to raise money for Police Activities League

Event expected to be bigger this year

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Ever wondered who would win a fight between a firefighter and a police officer? The answer may be revealed at this year’s Battle of the Badges, a USA Boxing-sanctioned tournament that will raise money for the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office Police Activities League (PAL).

The tournament will be held at the Campbell University Convocation Center Saturday at 4 p.m. The first half of the tournament will feature 10 to 12 USA Boxers competing against each other, followed by 10 to 12 service members from Cumberland, Harnett and Wake counties. Police officers, firefighters and emergency medical service members will go head-to-head in three 1-minute rounds.

Deputy Mark Hornsby of the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office is a competitive man, and he wants his guys to win. But he knows this event is about more than winning.

“It’s not about pitting each of us against each other,” Hornsby said. “This is a time for fellowship, a time to come together and do something positive for the community.”

Hornsby said that last year they had around 1,500 people come out to their event. This year he’s expecting an even bigger crowd. The tournament will host two special guests: Christy Martin, a former world champion and one of women’s boxing’s most prominent figures, and Ray Mercer, an Olympic gold medalist boxer in 1988.

“We’re going to put on a great show,” Hornsby said. “We did it big last year, and we want to do it even bigger this year.”

PAL offers local children the opportunity to compete in boxing, as well as wrestling and track and field. It’s free for all kids. Sheriff Wayne Coats recently worked with county commissioners to make the PAL positions full time in Harnett County.

“Our goal at PAL is to build trust with the youth in our community,” Hornsby said. “Right now is one of the toughest times to be growing up, so we want them to feel like they can trust the law enforcement in their communities.”

Tickets are available at the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office. General admission tickets are $15, while ringside seating is $30.

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