Alexandria Police officer boxes for charity, honoring fallen officers

Alexandria police officer Anthony Deshautelle shows the belts he has earned boxing in Battle of the Badges events. He has donated two of the belts to the Alexandria Police Department in honor of fallen local police officers.

ALEXANDRIA, La. (City of Alexandria) - Alexandria Police Officer Anthony Deshautelle, the reigning state heavyweight boxing champion, will be competing in a charity boxing match Aug. 17 in the Battle of the Badges competition in the Monroe Civic Center.

The event pits policemen vs. firefighters from across the South to raise money for MedCamps Louisiana, which provides one week of camp at no charge to 5,000 children from throughout the state with varying illnesses and disabilities.

Deshautelle, 51, is listed at 6-3, 240 pounds and the reigning Battle of the Badges Heavyweight champion. “I’ve been representing the department since I started here in 2007,” Deshautelle said. “Monroe is where I got my start. That was my first Battle of the Badges.”

Since then, Deshautelle has competed in numerous events, winning several belts and traveling across the country. “Most of them are ‘Battle of the Badges’ or ‘Guns and Hoses’ and have police versus firefighters,” he said. “I’ve competed at nationals in St. Louis and won championships there. It’s been great.”

The August bout will be Deshautelle’s second time to step in the ring this year. In June he traveled to San Diego, California, to participate in a Battle of the Badges event on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Midway. That event attracted competitors from a variety of agencies including the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, San Diego Fire Department, San Diego Police Department and Federal Fire of El Centro, California. Also on hand as supporters of the event were current professional boxers Mikey Garcia and Josesito Lopez as well as retired two-time world champion Fernando Vargas.

“San Diego was pretty interesting,” Deshautelle said. “The charity was to benefit a youth center for at-risk kids. It’s very similar to what we are doing at the Youth and Teen Center.” When he arrived in San Diego, Deshautelle’s first stop was a visit to the youth center. “What I noticed when I got there, there was a border patrol agent in uniform helping work with the kids. He was in the ring – in uniform – working with them,” Deshautelle said. “And then a San Diego police officer arrived and did the same thing. That’s what I try to do here.”

A native of Marksville, Deshautelle is currently a community police officer assigned to work with Alexandria Parks and Recreation youth programs. “Being a police officer is something I always wanted to do,” he said. He lived in Los Angeles for a while, where he competed as an amateur boxer. A hand injury sidelined that career path and lead to his decision to return home. “When I moved back from California I wanted to do something where I could make a difference in my community, where I’m from,” he said.

He began his police career in Marksville before moving to Alexandria, which offered more opportunity. “After two years in patrol, I got an opportunity in community policing,” he said. “That offered me a chance to see what I can do to help out in our tougher areas.”

Today he is a regular at the Alexandria Youth and Teen Center on Sylvester Street. “Working with Parks and Recreation, I can do a lot of what I came here to do. It’s a great fit for me,” he explained. “We interact with the kids and let them know we care. We let them see we’re someone’s mom or dad. It takes a while for them to warm up to us, but they do. It’s turning out to be a good program. I’m doing what I love right now.”

His assignment at the Alexandria Youth and Teen Center also gives him an opportunity to share his boxing skills and life lessons with the youth. “Boxing is like life – you get knocked down and you have to get back up,” Deshautelle said. “Stepping through those ropes prepares you for challenges.”

Those challenges and lessons will be on full display from 3-9 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at the Tri-State Boxing Showdown at the Bolton Avenue Community Center at 315 Bolton Avenue. The event will feature youth and adult amateur boxers from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. Fights start at 3 and doors open at noon. Admission for the event is $8 for adults and $5 for youth. Children under 3 are free.

Like any competitor, Deshautelle enjoys winning, but that is not the most important aspect of his participation in Battle of the Badges events. “I enjoy the camaraderie. We’re all trying to raise money for whatever charity is out there,” he said. When pressed for his won-loss record, he said he didn’t know. “I won my last fight in San Diego, but overall, I don’t know. I guess if I really thought about it I could come up with it. It’s not something I keep track of.”

Personal accolades are not Deshautelle’s goal. To him, it’s all about supporting charitable causes and honoring his fellow police officers. Rather than keeping the belts he wins, Deshautelle donates them in memory of fallen Alexandria Police officers. Two of the belts he has won are on display at Alexandria Police headquarters and each has been dedicated to a fallen officer. “I want to let people know we remember these guys. Let them know they are not forgotten,” he said.

Having honored fallen Alexandria Police Department officers, Deshautelle is looking at what he can do to honor other officers around the state. “I’ve been thinking of the officers from Baton Rouge,” he said. In July 2016 three Baton Rouge officers were killed in an ambush. Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier was critically injured in the incident and continues to fight to regain his health. “I’d like to give a belt or a medal to him,” Deshautelle said of Tullier. “I’d like to meet him. He has been fighting for three years. I want him to know we have not forgotten him.”

General admission tickets for the 15th Annual Battle of the Badges event at 6 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Monroe Civic Center are $12 while reserved seating is $25. VIP seating is also available. For more information, see the event website at http://battleofthebadges.com.

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