State leaders, law enforcement hope to make impact on young students
Updated: Tuesday, April 16 2013, 10:51 PM EDT
HOLLAND, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In a campaign for quality, a Michigan non-profit made up of 500 state leaders is making a push to reduce crime statewide.
Tuesday, the group made a stop along the lakeshore.
Law enforcement met with pre-schoolers in Holland, in hopes that the program could make an impact on the young students.
The program is called The Right Start, and it's showing that kids who are having these positive interactions with police before the age of 5 are less likely to end up in trouble later in life.
"We think education attainment and social development are key to preventing people from getting involved in criminal activity," said Ottawa County Prosecutor Ronald Frantz.
By starting early on, law enforcement from Holland and Ottawa County are leaving a lasting impression on the preschoolers.
"In the case of a 3-year-old, we will have a positive interaction with them as they enter life," said Ottawa County Undersheriff Greg Steigenga.
For many in the classroom, it's the first time they'll meet a community leader, and data shows that the positive interaction will make those boys and girls five times less likely to become repeat offenders by the time they hit their 20s.
"What the research shows is that if we can help kids on the front end, they are not coming to our jails," said K.P. Pelleran, State Director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan.
The non-profit is pushing for early intervention; Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is making stops similar to Tuesday's stop in Holland around the state over the next few days.
They're also pushing their mission of having more money invested in the Michigan budget next year for early education programs.
Governor Rick Snyder has proposed to increase funding to school readiness programs by $65 million next year.
To learn more about the Fight Crime program, click here.