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Police Douse Firefighters in Charity Football Game

VALLEY ROUNDUP | Van Nuys

May 24, 1999|ROBERTO J. MANZANO

About 1,200 people came out to watch police officers and firefighters duke it out on a Valley College football field Sunday. But despite the tackles and tough talk on both sidelines, the annual 911 Bowl was mainly about raising funds for charity.

Proceeds from the game will go to the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Fire Department's Chaplain's Benevolent Fund, the Blind Children's Center in Los Angeles and the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital.

The Los Angeles Police Centurions beat the city and county firefighters' Los Angeles Heat, 21-20, their second straight victory in the seventh annual event.

"It's traditionally been a great game, win or lose," said Los Angeles County Firefighter Tom Richards, 32. "It's a way of giving back to the community, and we love football."

The two departments first squared off in 1927, before 80,000 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The teams started playing each other again in 1993.

Both the officers and firefighters said they like the camaraderie of playing alongside colleagues.

"I just love the sport. It's one of the few places where you can be a family with all the guys here," said LAPD Officer Ralph Campos, 25.

The game also provides fans with a chance to see officers and firefighters outside of their usual roles.

"It's an opportunity to see them in a different light," said Michel Masuda, a United Way spokeswoman. "They take time to talk to people, and they're raising money for charity. They're doing a lot of good things at once."

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