American Red Cross phlebotomist Kelly Skeen draws blood from Crescenta Valley Sheriff Station volunteer Eddie Escobar during the annual Blattle of the Badges Blood Drive at the L.A. County Sheriff Station in La Crescenta station on Tuesday, January 17, 2011.

American Red Cross phlebotomist Kelly Skeen draws blood from Crescenta Valley Sheriff Station volunteer Eddie Escobar during the annual Blattle of the Badges Blood Drive at the L.A. County Sheriff Station in La Crescenta station on Tuesday, January 17, 2011. (Raul Roa)

Area residents joined deputies on Tuesday at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station in an effort to help fill local blood banks.

A Red Cross bloodmobile remained parked at the station from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the local installment of the fifth annual Battle of the Badges contest, a friendly competition among Southern California public-safety agencies to raise awareness of the year-round need for blood donations.

This is the second year that local deputies have participated in the Battle of the Badges, and by early afternoon, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Jorge Valdivia said the station was on track to meet or beat last year's total of 28 donors.

Sheriff's Deputy Randy Forney said he makes a point of donating blood regularly because of its lifesaving potential for fellow law enforcement officers, victims of violence and others who may fall ill.

"It's so simple to do, but it can save a life," Forney said.

Several donors from the community said they came out to not only to help the Red Cross, but show support for local law enforcement.

"I came because I support all the guys with badges. They've done a heck of a lot for this community," said Monte Vista Elementary School Principal Susan Hoge, who recalled working with deputies on the campus during evacuations of hillside residents under threat of debris flows last year.

Battle of the Badges events are occurring throughout Southern California this month.

La Crescenta resident Virginia Hatley said she didn't know the event was happening but stopped by after seeing the bloodmobile.

"It was hard to pass up when you know how good it is for everybody and how easy it is to donate," Hatley said.