RUPERT, WV (WVNS) — Prevention Resource Officers are stationed at secondary schools in Greenbrier County to ensure student safety.
Corporal Rick Honaker is the Prevention Resource Officer at Western Greenbrier Middle School. He has worked closely with students, faculty, and staff for 10 years.
But just how special is the connection that he shares with the students?
“It can be anything, I mean, we’ve all sat down and done their homework with them,” Cpl. Honaker said. “We’ve also been to their dances, their recitals, and their sports things. That’s a big deal to these kids, it’s a really big deal.”
What started with just 10 officers, 20 years ago in the Kanawha Valley area, has since expanded to 100 PRO officers in the Mountain State.
PRO officers say their bond with the students helps create a safer school environment.
Student Government President, Joshua Alley, and Principal, Marsha Podsiadlik, said having Corporal Honaker around campus gives them a sense of security.
“It just makes a person feel far safer than just having no one and just having the teachers,” Alley said.
“It’s a great school, great community,” Podsiadlik said. “But there are times just knowing he’s here, he’s in the building, you feel a little safer or maybe I feel more confident knowing that I will make the right choice with his help.”
Being a Prevention Resource Officer isn’t just about protecting the students, it’s about helping them and instilling a trust between officer and child.
“We want these kids to come to us when they’re having problems,” Cpl. Honaker said. “They can have a flat tire, they can need a jump start on their battery, they can need help at school, they might even be having issues at home that they don’t want to talk about. So building that trust and rapport is what you want to do.”