Since becoming Walla Walla's chief of police, I have had the pleasure of participating in many community events and traditions, such as throwing out the "first onion" at a Sweets game, working the pancake breakfast at the Balloon Stampede, being part of National Night Out in Pioneer Park and many others. Most recently, I had the opportunity to attend the "Our Kids, Our Business" luncheon with other local law enforcement and community leaders.
I found Dr. Meltzoff's presentation on early brain development to be very interesting and relevant on a couple of levels. As a father and grandfather, I have seen firsthand the "magic" that Dr. Meltzoff described happening in the first five years of a child's life and the importance of positive role models.
And, after decades in law enforcement, I have witnessed what research on crime prevention has proven -- that when kids do not get off to a good start in life they are far more likely to drop out of school and get on the wrong side of the law. As Dr. Meltzoff told us, the behavior, attitudes and emotions of the adults in children's lives will determine how and what they learn as they grow up.
Kids who have the benefit of strong parenting and high-quality early learning get the good start they need to be successful in school and lead productive lives. I'm glad to be part of a community that so strongly supports its youngest residents and I look forward to supporting the efforts of the Early Learning Coalition.
And, as a side note, don't forget to read to your toddlers tonight.