They want funding restored for early education programs.
"Our future is the children that come here and the education we can provide for them," said Mary Mauck, Jackson Elementary School Asst. Principal.
Mauck also oversees the school's early education program. She joined law enforcement officers and lawmakers Tuesday at the school to show their support for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.
It is a statewide non-profit working to restore state funding for pre-school and other early education programs.
It also promotes interaction between law enforcement officers and kids at a younger age, when they are more impressionable.
LaSalle County State's Attorney Brian Towne was among the group.
"We try to do these things in the community so that they do get to know us, do get a sense of security from us," he said.
The group believes by forming positive relationship with kids at an early age, it will make a lasting impact and lead to less violence.
"We want to prepare them for the life-long learning to become citizens that are positive," Mauck said.
Towne added, "The less crime, the less offenders we have to put in the system the better the community is in the long run."
The problem is the state is making less money available for early education programs. In the past three years, Fight Crime says Illinois has cut $55 million for pre-school.
The result, the group argues, is less opportunity for kids to begin their life in a positive direction.
"Sometimes they see police officers with older siblings or with other family members in a not so positive light," Mauck said.
Fight Crime says cutting pre-school funding will cost Illinois taxpayers $200 million over children's lifetimes due to increased criminal, educational and social service costs.
So, officials Tuesday urged lawmakers to do what they can to restore early education funding.
"It is investment in their future and ours," Towne said.
The pay off, the officials argued, is less of a burden on taxpayers and the judicial system and a safer community for everyone.
Towne said, "We're not going to see them in the courtroom. We're not going to see them as juvenile delinquents."
One recent study in Michigan showed people who did not have early education were 27% more likely to be arrested for a felony by age 26.
Lawmakers in attendance responded to the request for money by saying early education is always a priority, but it must be balanced with other obligations.