Education is the best defense against ignorance.

In an era of proposing to defund the work of local law enforcement — effectively handcuffing officers and deputies from doing their jobs — Watauga, Ashe, Avery and much of the High Country get painted with the same broad national brush.

To be supported then are the efforts of our departments and offices to teach and inform those in the communities they serve about the roles of law enforcement.

Best, is when such information can be shared and offered to those who have no or limited preconceptions — in other words, with our children.

We saw a fine example of this in Ashe County on Saturday as the sheriff’s department hosted a “Deputy 4 A Day” back-to-school drive-through event. On that day, hundreds of children and their families received school supplies and an education from deputies and others — including the show stoppers, K-9 officers Rhino and William — during a COVID-appropriate event at Government Circle.

In Watauga and other areas, programs such as D.A.R.E. (and its more recent update: D.A.R.E. to KARE) similarly seek to not only educate for today, but teach for tomorrow. The D.A.R.E. program itself, by example, “envisions a world in which students everywhere are empowered to respect others and choose to lead lives free from violence, substance use and other dangerous behaviors.”

Education works. Indeed, it may be the only thing that imparts lasting values. Our local law officers are to be commended for taking the time to teach today our neighbors of tomorrow.

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