Ill. LEO dies days after suffering medical emergency during call
Officer Gary Hibbs was remembered as kind, inspirational and irreplaceable
Duty Death: Gary Hibbs - [Chicago Heights, Illinois]
End of Service: 03/12/2021
The Daily Southtown, Tinley Park, Ill.
CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. — A Chicago Heights police officer died Friday morning, eight days after collapsing while answering a disturbance of two people fighting in an apartment, city officials said.
Officer Gary Hibbs, a 25-year department veteran, died at Franciscan Hospital in Olympia Fields, where he was being cared for in the intensive care unit, according to an announcement from Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez and police Chief Thomas Rogers.
Former Chicago Heights police Officer Tina Trock, who now is a K9 officer with the Champaign Police Department, said Hibbs took her under his wing as she was starting her career in law enforcement in the 1990s.
"In a time when women officers were still sparse in the area, Gary treated me with the utmost respect," Trock said in a post on Facebook. "He volunteered as one of the first officers to ride in a squad with me as a partner while others said I would never make it. What an honor."
She said Hibbs' many small kindnesses as she was starting her career, such as inviting her to dinner with his family, made a difference for her, as did the professional insight he shared.
"Here I am 24 years later and still using the knowledge he bestowed upon me," Trock said.
"Gary you were an awesome human being and I thank you for your vast knowledge in this profession. You taught me how to be the cop I am today. Street smarts and all."
Mayor Gonzalez said Hibbs' devotion extended throughout the city.
"Officer Hibbs committed his professional life to Chicago Heights and protecting its citizens and inspiring others to serve our community, including his son, Jimmy, who became a Chicago Heights police officer more than five years ago," Gonzalez said in a statement. "Officer Hibbs' passing is a grievous loss to both his family and to our city, and my heartfelt condolences are with his family at this moment."
Police said Hibbs answered a disturbance call at 1:52 p.m. March 4 in a third-floor apartment on 14th Place in Chicago Heights. While attempting take one of the individuals fighting into custody, Hibbs fell to the ground, unconscious, police said.
" The Chicago Heights Police Department has suffered an irreplaceable loss in Officer Hibbs' passing," said Chief Rogers. "Officer Hibbs set the gold standard as both a police professional and as a friend to us all in the department. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time."
(c)2021 The Daily Southtown (Tinley Park, Ill.)