A friendly competition between the Ceres Police Department and Ceres Fire Department to see who could draw more blood ended with the collection of blood from 75 donors and honors going to officers.
The second annual Battle of the Badges Blood Drive was held from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ceres Community Center on Aug. 23.
"It was a great turn-out," said Ceres Police Department detective Carlos Quiroz, who organized the event.
The blood was collected by Delta Blood Bank for use in patients in Central California.
Donors from throughout the community cast their vote for their favorite local heroes by choosing police or fire. Police received 72 ½ votes while Fire received 23 ½ votes.
"There's a certain city employee who didn't want to play favoritism so I'm going to keep his name confidential."
He refused to say if that donor was City Manager Toby Wells.
Donors received a free Battle of the Badges T-shirt, sponsored by Parson's Embroidery Plus of Ceres.
Quiroz said the police may have beat firefighters with votes but said "the real winners are the donors and of course the recipients who will receive blood in the future."
He said ordinarily "everyone loves the firemen because they're always there to help" and that when police show up "we're either there to take care of a problem or to solve a problem and it's unfortunate that solving a problem can mean taking somebody to jail." But he noted Ceres Police prevailed two consecutive years.
Last year's event drew over 60 blood donors but the one last week pulled 96 with 22 deferred because of low iron, low pressure, recent travel out of the country or because of the taking of medications.
"We would have been over 100 but we got so busy we had to tell the walk-ins to come back at a later time," said Quiroz.
Each pint can assist three people, he said.
Quiroz said he came up with the concept for a community blood drive modeled after one in Tracy Police Department where his wife works.
"I thought that would be a great event, especially with all this stuff going on in society with no trust in law enforcement," said Quiroz. "I don't see that with us and I thought what a great way to get the people to come out and fight the same battle."
Delta Blood Bank is accepting blood donations at all of its sites, including the one in Ceres at 2516 Mitchell Road, Suite F. Donations are accepted there on Tuesdays from noon to 6 p.m. Anyone may schedule an appointment by calling (888) 942-5663.
Donors should be in good general health, at least 17 years of age and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. Donors may be 16 years old, but must have parental consent and weigh a minimum of 115 pounds. A valid photo ID with date of birth is required. Because of fears about the Zika virus, a prospective donor must wait a month if they have traveled to areas - including Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin Americans nations - affected by the virus.