MOREHEAD During the COVID-19 public health emergency, first responders are often put in harm’s way, but they keep doing their job diligently every day to protect their city and their people.
Morehead State basketball alum Leon Buchanan, a member of the 2008-09 OVC Championship squad, serves as a police officer in Lexington. On this Feature Friday, we look back at a feature on him and his pursuit on his current position.
This original piece is by David Patrick and ran in Statement - the magazine of Morehead State University.
As a college basketball player at Morehead State University, Leon Buchanan was known as a leader on and off the court. A high character young man whose relentless work ethic earned the respect of coaches, teammates and fans, the Georgia native was a foxhole guy—and still is. If you were going to battle, you wanted Buchanan by your side.
As a senior in, Buchanan averaged 15 points and six rebounds per game, leading the Eagles to a 20-win season and their first Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship in 25 years. In his final collegiate game vs. Louisville in the NCAA tourney, Buchanan scored a team-high 17 points.
Now a decade later, those same traits that made Buchanan successful on the court will serve him well in his new career as a police officer.
It's a dream job for Buchanan, something he has been chasing since he was young. While most kids with his basketball skills dreamed of one day playing in the NBA, he was different. He wanted to be a cop.
"Yeah, ever since I can remember, I've wanted to someday be a police officer, Buchanan said. "I didn't start playing competitive basketball until I was in the ninth grade. I had no thoughts of playing college or professional basketball. I just took advantage of the opportunities that came my way."
Following high school in Albany, Buchanan attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College before transferring to Morehead State. After two successful seasons with the Eagles, the All-OVC performer played professionally for two years in Sweden and Germany before returning to the United States for a management position for Amazon Inc. in Lexington, where he spent the last five years.
Buchanan then learned of an opening in the Lexington Police Department, and those childhood dreams of becoming an officer quickly began to rekindle. He decided to give it a shot, entering the police academy in May 2018 and graduating in December. Leon was accompanied by a field-training officer his first 15 weeks on the force before spending the last five patrolling solo. Needless to say, it's been a life-changing experience.