Buster the bus quickly grabbed the attention of kids and parents at the 2009 Annual National Night Out in Person County. The event sponsored by the Roxboro Police Department was held on August 4, 2009 in downtown Roxboro. National Night Out, 'America's Night Out Against Crime,' was introduced by the National Association of Town Watch in 1984. National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness and generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs. The event strives to strengthen neighborhood spirit as well as police-community partnership. Last year's National Night Out campaign involved citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials from over 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. In all, over 37 million people participated in National Night Out 2008.
The Roxboro Police Department has been hosting this event for three years and this year they asked if Buster would participate. Organizers stated, “We have several displays that promote safety for kids and with the start of school closely approaching we thought why not get Buster to promote school bus safety.” Never missing an opportunity to talk about school bus safety Buster amazed the kids with information about bus safety and demonstrations of school bus stops. Buster was able to grab the attention of several prominent community leaders such as the Mayor, Person County Sheriff and Roxboro Police Chief.
National Night Out continues to grow in popularity in Person County. This year’s event included organizations such as Highway Patrol, National Guard, Fire Department Smokehouse, Gang Prevention, M.A.D.D, EMS and several other community agencies. Each agency had displays and items of interest that promoted safety, community awareness and community support. In addition to Buster, McGruff the Crime Dog and the Crash Test Dummies also made an appearance.
As the evening came to a successful close, Buster continued to draw groups of kids curious as to how he could talk and move all by his self. Buster was thankful to the Roxboro Police Department for this opportunity to play with the kids and talk about school bus safety. Buster is excited about the start of a new school year and he is looking forward to visiting all the schools in the Person County.
Buster would also like to give a special thanks to NCDPI Transportation Services and Institute for Transportation Research & Education (ITRE) for their support of the displayand handout materials.