I was pleased to read in a recent article that School Administrative District 75 is considering offering a pre-kindergarten program to 4-year-old children beginning next fall. Many members of law enforcement like me support quality early childhood learning programs. These programs have several long-term benefits, especially for at-risk kids, including reducing future crime. They even save money down the road.

Kids who participate in quality early learning programs develop the social, emotional, and cognitive skills that better prepare them for starting school ready to learn. These kids are more likely to do well in school at every level, stay in school, and graduate high school on time. They also are less likely to choose to participate in crime.

One long-term study found that kids who did not participate in a Chicago pre-school program were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by the time they were 18. As young adults, those who attended the pre-school program were 20 percent less likely to have served time in jail or prison compared to those who did not attend.

High-quality pre-K programs are a wise investment in our kids’ futures, especially for children who may not have the support they need to get a strong start in life. These programs are also a wise public safety investment; they result in safer communities and more tax dollars saved.

I encourage SAD 75 to make pre-K a reality for 4-year-olds so each one of them has the best shot possible at a successful, productive, and crime-free future.

Chief Chris Lewis
Topsham Police Department

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