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Shop with a Cop: Rosemount police, community build bridges at giving season

Noah McGuigan, 16, a junior at First Baptist School in Rosemount, participated with 18 other youth in Rosemount Police Department’s Shop with a Cop event. McGuigan shopped at Target with Dakota County Deputy Sheriffs Joe Leko and Arturo Herrara (right). Photo courtesy of Rosemount Police Department1 / 3
Youth wrap presents inside Rosemount City Hall with aid from city police records staff and volunteers from Rosemount American Legion Post 65. Photo courtesy of Rosemount Police Department2 / 3
Eighteen youth shopped for Christmas gifts at the Shop with a Cop event held Dec. 6, and hosted by Rosemount Police Department where youngsters shopped at Target and shared a meal at McDonald's before wrapping gifts. Photo courtesy of Rosemount Police Department3 / 3

Noah McGuigan openly shares how his faith has given him strength to triumph during rough times in his life.

McGuigan, 16, said he understands how God is always with him as he experiences rough patches in life. Like the loss of his father two years ago after a battle with cancer.

McGuigan, a junior at First Baptist School in Rosemount, plays on the school's basketball team. When he is not competing on the court, he works a part-time job at Little Caesars Pizza.

Sporting a letterman jacket as a Rosemount Crusader, McGuigan decided to dedicate his basketball shoes to his father, Michael McGuigan. He wrote a Bible verse on the side of his high-top sneakers that he said gives him strength and power to win on the basketball court.

"I wrote 'Rest in peace, Dad 1956-2016' and the Bible verse from Proverbs 3:5-6," McGuigan said. "The verse says 'trust in the Lord with all your heart.'"

McGuigan said he now knows he can also turn to the local Rosemount Police Department if he has any concerns or troubles in life.

McGuigan said he was personally touched by the Shop with a Cop event. He recalled how he felt the caring nature from police officers, city staff and Rosemount American Legion volunteers who helped shop and wrap his family's Christmas presents.

During Shop with a Cop, he bought gifts for his two brothers and one sister. He even selected a gift for himself on the shopping trip to Target in Inver Grove Heights.

Shop with a Cop

The fifth annual Shop with a Cop is organized by the Rosemount Police Department. This year's event was held Dec. 6, when 18 youth were invited to buy gifts for family members alongside police officers. The group shopped at Target in Inver Grove Heights and shared a meal at McDonald's in Rosemount.

"Our goals are to relieve the financial burden of the families and bridge the gap between law enforcement and these children," said Danielle Waage, the community resource officer with Rosemount police who led the event.

Youth made Christmas lists and selected presents for family members. After the meal, they returned to city hall to wrap gifts with American Legion volunteers.

"We want to thank McDonald's and the Rosemount American Legion — they are the biggest donors and they have supported us since we started," Waage said.

Names of youth are gathered from nominations the department receives from school staff or administrators at schools in Rosemount, Waage said.

"They can get whatever they choose for gifts," Waage said. "It was fun because they all enjoyed themselves and gave thanks."

One of the youth's favorite parts of the evening was riding in the "Bearcat" or the SWAT team's multi-agency assistance group's vehicle.

"Each kid could ride in the "Bearcat" at different times and it is one of our vehicles that the MAAG team uses," Waage said. "We sang Christmas songs as a whole group from the radio."

Financial support for the Shop with a Cop event originates from money raised from community donations given at the grocery bagging at Cub Foods in Rosemount as well as donations from Rosemount American Legion, the Rosemount Yellow Ribbon Network, and private citizens.

Joy on faces

"The best part is to see the joy on the kids' faces and see the items they pick out for their family members," Waage said.

Youth are encouraged to take the wrapped gifts home and place them under the family tree until Christmas morning.

McGuigan said he couldn't wait to give his older sister her gift and wanted to give her the Christmas gifts early.

"Noah talked with the officers the whole time and he said they were very friendly," said Stephanie McGuigan, Noah's sister. "I thought it was a great opportunity for kids in need to show the value of giving."