OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) — A program held at the Highland Events Center focused on ways to protect our most valuable asset, our children.

PRO officers wrapped up the week-long event with an awards ceremony and closing remarks.

140 public resource officers from all over the Mountain State spent their week at the networking event to learn different ways to respond in any situation when it comes to student safety in the schools.

Plus, the PROs were able to enhance the skills they already possess on the job.

Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard says the PRO program at the elementary, middle, and high school levels is very vital.

He says it shows students that the officers are there to keep kids safe, and it also teaches PROs how to build a good rapport with students.

“These guys go out on the playground with these little ones in their own school, and they play kickball with them, games. The same thing in middle schools; they get to work with them, the high-fives, the fist pumps. They see them in the lunchroom and they get to really work with the children, and to me, whether they’re in kindergarten or they’re a senior in high school, they’re still kids. So, they are our greatest resource, and that’s what we’re there for to protect them, to make them feel safer in the schools, and that’s what this is about.”

Sheriff Tom Howard | Ohio County Sheriff’s Office

This week’s seminars included active shooter, drug and alcohol, and autism training.

Howard started this program in 2015.