Spotlight Newsletter | Battle of the Badges

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Big-hearted badge-bearers battle breast cancer

THE NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS, the cheering crowds, the amount of funding raised—and the muscles needed to win—all get bigger every year.

Battle of the Badges
Captain Von Narcisse (l) and Sergeant James Scott (r) proudly present a check to Camille Servodidio, Program Manager of Women’s Oncology Services at Smilow Cancer Hospital.

The seventh Battle of the Badges bench press competition occurred last spring, and it raised nearly $5,000— every penny of which was donated to Smilow Cancer Hospital for breast cancer care and research.

Captain Von Narcisse of the Yale University Police Department and Sergeant James Scott of the Connecticut State Police have been co-organizers of this event from the very beginning.

Anyone can enter the competition, which takes place each year in the Yale Payne Whitney gym. There are two divisions. The Public Safety Division is for police, firefighters, emergency medical service providers, and members of the armed services. The Open Division is for the rest of us—because you have to be really tough to compete with public safety officers!

Participants compete in teams of three people. The team whose members perform the highest combined number of bench press “reps” is the winner. Teams include both genders, but men must lift 75% of their weight, while women lift 50% of their weight. This year’s competition fielded 30 teams.

Funds are raised from registration fees ($20 per entry—$15 if you’re a student) and donations.

“It feels like a championship event,” says Von. “The crowd is yelling and screaming, kids are cheering and jumping up and down for their parents. The energy level is through the roof and contagious!”

Even with all the help they get from volunteers, organizing the Battle of the Badges is a big job. But Von and James are committed to the project.

Our motto this year was Keep Pushing because we believe it’s so important to push until there’s a cure for breast cancer.” Sergeant James Scott

“As police officers, we believe you are never ‘off duty’ when it comes to serving the community,” explains James. “This event is another opportunity for us to help others.”

And breast cancer is personal— almost everyone has been touched by it. “We’re not researchers or scientists or physicians,” says Von, “but we have just as much energy in the fight. And one of the best ways to fight it is to raise funds for doctors and researchers.”

The 2018 Battle of the Badges is already in the works. Von and James would love to have YOU enter the competition next year. Email Von for information or to sign up at If you’d rather not bench press but still want to join the battle, make a donation at Indicate “Battle of the Badges 2018” when prompted.

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