Operation Blue Santa to make Christmas bright for local children

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published October 22, 2020

METRO DETROIT — Because police officers are often the first to see the impoverished situations some children live in, officers who worked with the late Collin Rose are trying to bring cheer, charity and kindness to less fortunate children this holiday season.

The Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation is launching its first Operation Blue Santa campaign, seeking nominations of deserving families with children ages 2-12 years old in several communities across the state with ties to Rose or members of the foundation.

The Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation honors Rose, a Wayne State University police K-9 officer who was killed during an investigation in 2016. Rose lived in St. Clair Shores, so it is one of the communities to be included in Operation Blue Santa, as are Battle Creek, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Detroit, Grosse Pointe Woods, Muskegon, New Baltimore, Richland, Royal Oak and Traverse City.

“Clearly, people’s financial pictures have changed this year versus prior years,” said St. Clair Shores Police Officer Chris Powell, president of the foundation. “It’s a first time out for us to do this (but we wanted to) support the communities, keep Collin’s name out there and maybe brighten up Christmas for some families that might be facing” a bad situation for the first time.

For the first year, the foundation is hoping to support 10 families, although it is also looking for residents, businesses and civic groups to join and possibly adopt more families. To nominate a family or apply for assistance, visit collinrosememorial.org/bluesanta. Applications are due by Nov. 27.

Members of the Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation said they know there are other groups that already help other families at Christmas, like Cops for Kids and the Goodfellows, but they’re trying to pitch in to help those in need.

Powell said they are all active-duty police officers, many of whom used to work together at Wayne State University. In the years since Rose’s death, he said, many of them have also become parents, “so we know what it’s like to be a family now.”

“Rose loved (children), and it was always a soft spot for him, wanting to help people out. His family just loved the idea,” Powell continued. “Ultimately, we want to help as many as we can.”

Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety Officer Mark Laquere, a member of the foundation, said helping the community is a main reason they began the foundation.

Rose “was really into talking to people. He loved showing kids the dog. I think this would be a good way for people to remember Collin in a better light,” he said.

Laquere said since all of the officers in the foundation have moved on to different departments, working together on projects such as Operation Blue Santa gives them a reason to see each other again.

“It’s important for us to just keep doing things that Collin would have liked,” he said.