The Hilliard Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association has expanded an annual softball game between Hilliard safety forces to include those of Dublin.
The Hilliard and Dublin divisions of police and the Norwich and Washington Township fire departments will play one another at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park, 3800 Veterans Memorial Drive in Hilliard.
The winners will advance to a championship game about 7:30 p.m.
The games will be played on diamonds No. 1 to 4 at Reynolds Park.
Matt Garrido, president of the Hilliard Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, got the ball rolling on the games.
For the past three years, the alumni association has organized a softball game between personnel from the Hilliard Division of Police and the Norwich Township Fire Department.
This year, organizers invited Dublin's safety forces to participate, Garrido said.
One reason, he said, was that last year Hilliard agreed to transfer all its emergency-dispatching services to Dublin.
"In light of dispatching for Hilliard and Dublin now existing under one roof, as well as the four departments working more closely together, I thought, 'What a great opportunity to include Dublin and Washington,'" Garrido said.
After receiving a positive response from his own alumni association, Garrido said, he spoke with Fred Hageman, a firefighter at Washington Township, and Dublin police Sgt. Justin Paez about his idea.
Within 24 hours, both men informed him teams were fielded, Garrido said.
In addition to bragging rights and custody of a trophy, the tournament is meant to strengthen ties among the alumni of the respective citizens academies, Garrido said.
Hilliard began its Citizens Police Academy five years ago, Garrido said. A sixth class graduated earlier this year and a seventh will begin early next year.
Dublin's third citizens academy class will convene later this month, said Paez, an instructor for the academy.
"The game will be a good opportunity for our alumni to start a relationship," Garrido said.
Dublin's first class of graduates also has formed an alumni association that is continuing to expand.
"We're thrilled to be invited and look forward to playing the game," Paez said.
Admission to the games will be free.
The Hilliard Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association will provide refreshments and children's activities at the park.