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Marysville Police Chief among county law enforcement to meet with Sen. Murray
By Kirk Boxleitner
EVERETT — Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith was one of several members of Snohomish County law enforcement who echoed U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's support of early childhood education and care Feb. 20.
Smith joined Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick and Prosecutor Janice Ellis, as well as Everett Police Deputy Chief Kathy Atwood, in meeting with Murray at a community center in Everett, where they toured through a Head Start early learning program.
Smith agreed with his law enforcement peers that investing in programs such as Head Start can help reduce juvenile crime, by boosting children's learning and social skills in ways that prepare them for success in school, thereby making them less likely to commit crime.
"As a parent myself, I've made mistakes, but I've also had a great support network of friends and family to help me out," said Smith, as he and Murray visited with parents and children at the Everett community center. "Programs like this provide other parents with a network they can turn to."
Murray informed Smith and his peers of President Barack Obama's pledge for $10 billion in new funding for early childhood education, since many such state and federal programs remain underfunded. In turn, the law enforcement officials recommended new federal support for voluntary home-visiting programs such as the Nurse-Family Partnership, which provides support to expectant mothers and new parents.
"It can be difficult to break the cycle of neglect and abuse," Smith said. "But the more of these chances that you give kids, the more that you help them, and potentially help law enforcement."
A press statement by Murray cited a study of the NFP which found that the program reduced cases of abuse and neglect by half in families that received the visits, and reduced arrests of both children and mothers by 60 percent.
"It'll be interesting to see how our state utilizes the stimulus package," Smith said. "We thank Sen. Murray for her work on this issue."