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Agencies to participate in benefit softball tournament

Profile image for By Megan Gray / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray / Staff Writer

Area police and fire departments are looking forward to butting heads this Saturday for the 11th annual Battle of the Badges, benefiting the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County.

The event, hosted by the Lewisville Citizens Police Academy Alumni, will feature 11 teams playing softball at Toyota of Lewisville Railroad Park, located on Valley Ridge Boulevard.

Terry McGrath, Lewsiville Fire Department assistant chief, said the most important aspect of the event is the organization that it benefits.

The Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County is a nonprofit organization specializing in children who are victims of sexual or very serious physical abuse.

Last year, more than 1,000 children in the county were assisted by the center in some way, Dan Leal, executive director of the center, said.

“We helped 330 from the city of Denton alone,” he said.

Leal said the center is like the “point guard” agency of Child Protective Services and city police departments when it comes to abuse to a child.

“When a report of sexual abuse to a child is made, we take care of the child and make sure they get the counseling and things they need,” he said. “We step in and do the forensic interviews even to make sure they are in a more comfortable setting.”

More than 700 video interviews were conducted in 2012, records from the group show.

Stacie Wainscott, development director for the center, said more than $4,500 of proceeds from Battle of the Badges were presented last year.

The first game is set to start at 8:30 a.m., and tickets will be sold at the gate for $5 apiece, officials said.

Children 12 and under get in free.

“We are really looking forward to the event,” Ryan Grelle, Denton police spokesman said. “It’s all for a good cause.”

Leal said one of the exciting things is that four intracity departments will be going head to head.

“Denton police vs. Denton fire was a really good game last year,” he said.

DFD won 12-10, he said.

In the 10 years played so far, a police department has never won the championship.

“Bragging rights are huge around here,” said McGrath, whose department has won two championships.

Lewisville, Denton, Flower Mound and Carrollton are just a handful of the cities that will have agencies there, officials said.

Tournament activities also will include a video game truck, clowns, face painting, concessions and a silent auction.

“This is just a really appropriate event to help us out. We work with police departments every day, and while we don’t always work with fire departments, it could happen. I hope to see a great turnout this Saturday,” Leal said.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.