LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Mark Franklin is committed to children

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How much are children worth in Dayton and Columbia County? They are worth everything -- they are our future! Dayton and Columbia County provide great schools, sports, summer activities, 4-H and much more for our children.

In the last couple of years new programs have been initiated that serve to keep our children free from harm. One of the programs was options Bed for runaway or homeless youth funded by our county.

Sheriff Hessler did not participate in the planning of this with a local group, and it took many months to pass this information to his deputies. His dispatch personnel were never told about the program. The money for this is now gone and the bed was not used. Mark Franklin, many times on his own time, came to the meetings to help in the planning.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office was invited to participate in the Blue Mountain Child Abduction Response Team, which covers Umatilla, Walla Walla and Columbia counties. A free training session was held in Portland in August and funded by a federal grant at no cost to the participating counties. Three agencies were represented on the Columbia County Team but no one from the Sheriff's Office attended. Law enforcement is an integral part of the response to missing or abducted children.

There are other activities that work for the children and families in Columbia County. Often Mark Franklin has participated during his off-duty hours. He has done this because he cares about the quality of life for our children. He is active in the Community Network Coalition for Youth and Families and the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Coalition. He is also a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Team, which responds to children who have been abused or neglected. He has participated in the Freshman Retreat and as an advisor to the Drama Club at the high school.

Although I watched several episodes of the Andy Griffith Show when I was a child, the days of Mayberry are over. It is time for the Columbia County Sheriff to get involved. Challenges to families are very real, and law enforcement needs to be both visionary and responsive to crime and the community. Participation, at a minimum, in community prevention and response programs is a must!

Our children represent the future and Mark is committed to them. Please join me in investing in our future with Mark Franklin for sheriff.

Ted Paterson
Dayton

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