Prevention Resource Officers can be the difference in life or death situations, easily one of the most important jobs in schools across the country.
Wheeling Park is the only high school in West Virginia with two resource officers. Ohio County Deputy Chad Clatterbuck is one of them.
During his 4 years inside the school, he’s been busy protecting the students, but he’s also been getting to know them.
“I have some that I started with as freshman and I’ll see them graduate and there’s been a lot of relationships built there. So, it’s almost like I went from having two of my own children to adopting 1,700,” said resource officer and Deputy Clatterbuck.
It’s a big responsibility after 17 school shootings in 2018, one that Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard is taking it seriously, adding three more resource officers this year.
“When you see what’s going on nationally, probably one of the most important parts of law enforcement right now is public relations. This puts you in the position to build those relationships with our future leaders, future adults in our community,” added Clatterbuck.
Two years ago, Deputy Clatterbuck spearheaded ALICE training, and by the end of this year, every student in the county will know techniques to fight back during a threat.
“It helps them think of something and plan prior to an event should it occur, and that’s half the battle. If you find yourself in a situation you’ve had that thought process before, rather than making that last minute decision,” said Clatterbuck.
While checking inside a classroom, students told Deputy Clatterbuck how lucky they feel to have him there.
“I’m glad we have you in our school for our safety and our protection,” said a Wheeling Park student.
“Being able to influence the wayward so to speak and see them become productive and make better decisions, that to me is a very rewarding experience, and I wouldn’t change that and I feel very fortunate to be able to do it,” said Clatterbuck.
As far as other West Virginia schools, Deputy Clatterbuck said we’re is actually head of the curve with the statewide PRO program, it is much more comprehensive than many other states.