Battle of the Badges: A rivalry on the ice for a good cause

Madison Police and Fire hit the ice Saturday for the 5th annual Battle of the Badges.
Published: Mar. 26, 2022 at 9:49 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Duking it out for a good cause. Madison Police and Fire hit the ice Saturday for the 5th annual Battle of the Badges.

The competition between police and fire runs deep, but as fun as stick checking and slaps shots between rivals can be, the game benefits a local nonprofit. Proceeds from the game are going to Safe Communities of Madison-Dane County, a local nonprofit aiding in addiction recovery and suicide prevention.

“First responders are not about arresting their way out of this problem,” said Safe Communities Director Cheryl Wittke. “They are about throwing events like this that celebrate community, celebrate recovery, celebrate partnerships that help people get better.”

For retired Madison Fire Chief Lance Langer, this cause is personal. He lost his son, also a former firefighter, to suicide.

“Organizations like this are just doing wonderful things that allow people to be more sustainable and get them the services they need to be successful in life,” said Langer.

Madison Fire beat police 5 to 4. But regardless of the score, both teams agree the community is the real winner.

“We take it pretty serious in the locker room because we want to win,” said retired police officer Travis Hilliard. “But we always remind everyone it’s for charity. Making sure the money is appropriated for folks to get back on their feet, make a difference and save some lives.”

Over the past five years, Wittke says Battle of the Badges has raised more than $100,000. She anticipates Saturday’s game will raise an additional $30,000.

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