By Josh Bennett
The 20th annual Battle of the Badges was held at the Icardo Center on Friday. The event, put on by the Police Activities League, is their yearly event of law enforcement and military slugging it out in the boxing ring to raise money for the PAL after-school program.
“This is a 100 percent fundraiser for the kids of PAL,” said Kyle Ursery, the Executive Director of the Bakersfield Police Activities League. “Our goal is to get the kids off the street, open up our doors at the peak times where criminal activity is probably at its best, and provide tutoring and programs for them.”
The event was started 20 years ago by recently retired officer Chad Jackman and Greg Jehle. The two got together with a few other officers and organized a couple fights at a shooting range to raise money for PAL. It grew every year up to the event that happened on Friday, with 14 bouts on the card and thousands of people in attendance.
Before the fighting occurred, Jackman was honored for his 30 years of service as a police officer and was awarded a personalized championship belt to commemorate his retirement, along with Jehle, who also dedicated almost 30 years of service as an officer . Jackman would serve as one of the referees at the event.
The Jackman family would not go unrepresented. His daughter Elizabeth of the Bakersfield Police Department and son Nick who is in the US Army, representing Delta Troop 6-17 Cav in Alaska, fought at the event.
“My dad [Chad Jackman] recently retired, so I came down for his retirement and he asked me to fight in Battle of the Badges, and I can’t think of nothing better I would love to do,” said Nick Jackman.
Despite losing his fight, via judge’s decision, Nick Jackman is not concerned about the outcome of the fight. He is just there to raise money for the PAL kids.
“It’s just for the kids, that’s why we’re all here. We’re just trying to have a good time,” said Jackman. “It’s a good program that raises money for under privileged youth and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this.”
As far as the fighting goes, Ursery will leave it to the officers and military.
“Oh heck no,” said Ursery on the thought of boxing himself in the event. “That’s why I’m in charge of it!”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Corrected the spelling of Greg Jehle’s last name and included Jehle’s name to the paragraph about the retirement ceremony. We regret the error.