A Pair Of Pro PROs
Two From Ohio County Sheriff’s Department Honored
WHEELING — Two members of the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department recently received awards for their work as prevention resource officers in Ohio County Schools.
Cpl. Dave Drahos Jr. was named West Virginia Prevention Resource Officer of the Year for his work at the Warwood School, while Sgt. Chad Clatterbuck received the West Virgnia Prevention Resource Officer Community Service Award for his work at Wheeling Park High School.
The role of a PRO in a school is three-fold, according to the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security’s Justice and Community Services.
Along with being trained to spot possible danger, prevent violence and respond to dangerous situations, the PRO also is trained on how to mentor students in a positive manner. A PRO also hosts classes on a variety of non-traditional topics including: juvenile law, domestic violence, underage drinking, drug and alcohol prevention, and child abuse and neglect.
The officers are on campus at least 35-40 hours per week, in addition to attending extracurricular school activities. Funding for PRO programs are supported by Justice Assistance Grant program grants and the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Title II grant program.
Warwood School Principal Joey Subasic said the award given to Drahos is “well deserved and well earned.”
“DJ is a huge part of our school community,” Subasic said. “I can’t imagine life without him at this point.”
Subasic said Drahos works with both elementary and middle school students. In addition to safety training for students and staff, he also teaches some non-traditional classes.
“He went to school to be a teacher and then went the law enforcement route, so this fits his personality perfectly,” Subasic said. “He’s a resource for us not only for safety and security, but with the way he interacts with our students. He goes way beyond being a law enforcement figure and a badge in the building. He’s very personable.”
Wheeling Park High School Principal Meredith Dailer said Clatterbuck is an important part of the school community.
“Sgt. Clatterbuck is integral part of Wheeling Park High School,” Dailer said. “He has an incredible relationship with our students and is always available to our staff and helps whenever he is needed,” she said.
Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard said both Drahos and Clatterbuck are valuable resources in the schools they serve. He said they are both certified to teach Drug Abuse Resistance Education classes as well.
“Both of these guys do awesome work in the schools. Even in the summertime, they’re still working with the schools,” he said. “The state doesn’t give out a lot of awards. It says a lot about these two.”
Howard said the state’s PRO liaisons voted on who should receive the awards and his deputies were chosen. They received the awards during a banquet held recently at The Highlands. Howard said before becoming sheriff he was a PRO for six years. He noted to this day he still will get hellos from students and families while out shopping or in a restaurant.
Drahos said he has been with the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department for nine years. He has worked as a PRO for about four years. Prior to that he worked as a DARE officer at Woodsdale School. He continues to teach DARE classes at Warwood, West Liberty and Corpus Christi Schools.
“I was very surprised to receive it. There are a lot of guys in the state I feel do a great job. To be recognized is pretty amazing,” Drahos said.
Drahos, a former PRO Rookie of the Year, said while working as a PRO at Warwood School, he is treated much like one of the teachers on staff. He teaches ALICE training and is in charge of updating the school’s safety plan, but he also gets to teach fun classes, he said.
For example, he brought in night vision goggles and glow sticks and taught third, fourth and fifth graders the science behind night vision. He also gets to teach a woodshop class.
Clatterbuck said he loves being a PRO and this will be his eighth year doing it at Park.
“This is my 17th year in law enforcement now and the PRO program has been the most rewarding part of law enforcement I’ve ever experienced,” Clatterbuck said.
He noted has helped mentor students from the time they are freshman to graduating seniors.
“This age group you are dealing with students becoming young men and women. You begin the process in their freshman year and you have the opportunity to watch them and influence them with guidance,” he said. “They’re making better decisions and are better people by the time they’re done.
Sometimes it goes beyond the regular duties of safety training and mentoring.
“It’s been a very enjoyable experience for me in my career. I have kids of my own, but it’s like adopting a couple thousand more every school year,” he said.
“I’ve even had situations where I’ve transported a student to the eye doctor or doctor’s office or rides to prom. It goes far beyond criminal investigation and safety.”
Clatterbuck said he was “surprised and pleased” with receiving the award.
“It was nice to be recognized,” he said.