I appreciated your June 21 editorial (“Our View: More needy children in Maine deserve quality early care“) in favor of Early Head Start and other early learning programs that support many of Maine’s neediest kids. I, and others in law enforcement, were concerned with proposed state budget cuts in funding for these valuable and beneficial programs. (The budget that was enacted spares the programs from funding reductions.)

My colleagues and I see on a regular basis the positive impact that programs like Early Head Start have on at-risk youth, as well as their value in preventing crime. The earlier we reach these kids and teach them the skills they need to succeed in school and in life, the better chance we have of preventing many of them from choosing a life of crime. Studies show that kids who participate in high-quality early learning programs are more likely to stay in school and graduate from high school. They are also less likely to become criminal offenders.

The benefits of early intervention and learning programs are too great and too valuable to risk losing – not just for our kids, but also for our communities, including our state coffers. I support Maine lawmakers’ making funding for Early Head Start programs a priority, both now and in the future.

Janine Roberts

chief of police

Westbrook