A 12-year-old girl from Louisiana is traveling across the country to spread love and give hugs to police officers along the way.
Rosalyn Baldwin’s amazing journey has led her 2,000 miles away from her home to Montana, where she most recently hugged officers in Great Falls City.
Rosalyn is accompanied by her 7-year-old brother Philip on the journey, where the pair hope to spread a positive message about police.
“Ever since I was 6 years old, there was a shooting that happened in Baton Rouge, which being a 6/7-year old, it put a lot on my heart,” Baldwin said.
So far, Baldwin has hugged police officers in 43 states and has seven more to go.
“I wanted to show appreciation for our law enforcement officers. Originally, I wanted to go around the world hugging law enforcement officers,” Baldwin said.
Before Montana, Baldwin visited Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office in North Dakota and gave hugs to a crowd of deputies gathered at the station.
“Obviously, I am biased. I think our greatest asset is our people. I told them, we might be one of the last states you get to, but we are one of the best,” Burleigh County Sheriff Kelly Leben told Rosalyn.
Great Falls Police Department Chief Jeff Newton said her arrival to Great Falls brought a lot of positivity to the department.
“She’s doing it based on tragedy, but she’s making something positive out of that, and I think that’s the message.”
Newton was also the first to receive a hug from Baldwin.
“I was privileged to have the first hug from everybody. So that was pretty cool,” Newton said.
The chief said he wasn’t the only one smiling during the visit.
“I saw smiles, and it was not only Great Falls police. You had Jesse Slaughter with the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol, Probation and Parole, Mayor Bob Kelly, and I saw a bunch of smiles,” Newton said.
“You get to see their facial expressions, almost glow up and glitter. So, I can say it’s an absolutely amazing experience,” Baldwin recalled.
Great Falls Mayor Bob Kelly also declared September 22, 2022, “Rosalyn Baldwin A Hug for Love Day” in the city and said Baldwin’s heartfelt message came at the perfect time for police around the country, who have faced a tough year with record-high crime, low morale and a shrinking work force.
“The love of a child provides just what is needed when the days and nights are long for our officers,” Kelly said.
“It’s an amazing experience, especially when you get to visit different departments, hang out with them, you get to see them as your family,” Baldwin explained.
Sheriff Leben hopes that Baldwin’s journey will make people more comfortable around interacting with law enforcement.
“People have to feel comfortable talking to the police. And I think it is cool for people to come from the outside and feel comfortable. So, we want to encourage our people to always understand we are here to serve and help,” she said.
Rosalyn’s next stop on her journey is South Dakota.
“Rosalyn’s mission is to journey throughout the country as a beacon of light, love and hope. She wishes to unite communities by demonstrating her sincere love and appreciation for those who have committed their lives to serving and protecting the people of our nation,” her website reads.