CRESTVIEW — While a memorial service is being planned for after the Thanksgiving holiday, the community is mourning the death of police officer Lt. Arthur "Kent" Buckner, a 15-year veteran of the police department.
Buckner, known as "Bucky" to friends in the department and in the community, was found in his home shortly after 9:30 a.m. Monday, "apparently deceased by his own hand," a police department news release stated.
Foul play is not suspected, but the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is performing a routine investigation into Buckner's death.
As a member of the community policing division, Buckner was instrumental in adapting the Text-a-Tip program to Crestview. Under the program, the public can anonymously send text messages reporting crimes or criminals to the police.
Upon the appointment of Chief Tony Taylor last year, Buckner became staff adjutant, handling, among other duties, internal affairs, citizen concerns and equipment acquisition.
"I always saw a very upbeat side to Bucky," the Rev. Mark Broadhead, police chaplain, said. "He had a very good sense of humor, but he also had a very serious side. He definitely had a love for his Lord."
Buckner attended Central Baptist Church, where he had a "very good relationship with (the Rev.) Paul Mixon," the church's pastor, Broadhead said.
Buckner was familiar to community members for his work with troubled youth, including the formation of the Kent Buckner Band, a country music group composed mostly of teen members.
"Bucky's been a good friend to our community for very many years," Mayor David Cadle said while announcing Buckner's passing at Monday's City Council meeting.
Council members, city department heads and members of the audience observed a moment of silence in Buckner's memory during the meeting.
Buckner is survived by two sons and close friend Becky Christmas.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.