Four eastern Iowa law enforcement officers held a press conference in Cedar Rapids today announcing their support for expanding the federal child tax credit. The officers are part of a national non-profit organization called " Fight Crime: Invest in Kids " that’s organizing similar press events around the country.

Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner says there’s a clear link between low income families and criminal activity. "Recent studies have shown that children who live at the poverty line are more inclined to resort to a life in crime than other children. Of course, that’s not the only factor, but it is one of several factors," Gardner told Radio Iowa by phone. "It appears that this can easily be addressed, at least in part, by having this one-thousand dollar tax credit be returned to the families."

The economic stimulus package, which Congress is currently considering, includes a provision to make more working families eligible to claim the refundable credit. "Anything that we can do to help impoverished families try to keep their children out of a life in crime is certainly worth looking into and it appears to us in law enforcement that a one-thousand dollar tax credit is certainly a step in the right direction," Gardner said.

He was joined at the press conference by Cedar Rapids Police Chief Greg Graham, Marion Police Chief Harry Daugherty and Dubuque County Sheriff Ken Runde. They cited research on the connection between poverty and crime that was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The "Fight Crime: Invest in Kids" organization includes more than 4,500 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and violence survivors, including 117 in Iowa.