By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of Philadelphia police officers and firefighters are a little more trim these days. They were participants in the 31st annual Battle of the Badges weight-loss competition.

Battalion Chief Leroy Ruffin was beaming as he walked out of city hall with the winners trophy, which will be on display at Fire Department Headquarters for the next year.

After 13 weeks on Weight Watchers, an outnumbered team of firefighters and civilian workers edged the Police Department squad.

“We had about 135 people that took part in it, and they had like 400 or something people. But it goes by the percentage of the top 25. So our top 25 lost a little bit more weight than their top 25,” Ruffin explained.

img 7655 Police, Firefighters Compete To Lose Weight For A Good Cause

(L-R): Officer David Jones, Battalion Chief Leroy Ruffin, Captain John Wilczynski
(credit: Paul Kurtz)


The Fire team lost an average of 10 and 1/4 pounds. Police came in slightly under 10 pounds down.

It’s called a friendly competition, but Police Community Relations officer David Jones says they all have the same goal of losing weight.

“Their lifestyle does change. Eating habits change once they get on at the department. Their meal schedules change, and they want to do anything they can to keep themselves healthy,” Jones said.

The challenge is also a vehicle for fundraising. Weight Watchers has contributed $10,000 to the Hero Thrill Show for college scholarships for children of police officers killed or seriously injured in the line of duty.

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