Competition was found inside the gym at Mt. Olive Baptist Church during the 20th annual Hoops for Jesus tournament, The Meridian Police Department and Fire Department competed to win first place for Battle of the Badges.
“We practiced quite a few times, we won last year so we want to keep that same momentum, but a lot of police officers that played in the past are not with us anymore, so every year we always have a different team.” Said Ronald Turner Jr, MPD officer.
The practice came after the best players on the force was matched.
“We look at the strengths and weaknesses of the players and try to put it together to make a team, and we came out pretty successful last year and hope for the same thing this year.” Said Benny DuBose, Meridian Police Department chief.
And regardless of the badges belonging to law enforcement or firefighters, that didn't change team spirit.
“These are probably some of the best guys we have on the Fire Department, we’ re just going to see what they can do today.” Said Tyler Stacey senior Meridian firefighter.
Regardless of the competition, it’s doesn't change the love one that each department has for one another on the court.
“It’s fun going against these guys you know, we see them often in the community as far as going on the calls and interacting with them, so it’s enjoyable.” Said Briton Brassfield, Meridian firefighter.
The Score ended up being 39 for Meridian Police Department and 26 for Meridian Fire Department, it may be fun and games, but the mission is to raise scholarship money for the youth at the church.
“We just enjoy the partnership that we have with the mayor, with the police department and the fire department that puts this benefit on, especially for scholarship, and so the community has come out to support these first responders.” Said Ronald Turner Sr,tournament coordinator.