Sangamon County Courthouse officials are mourning the loss of Gibson, their cherished facility dog, who passed away after a short battle with cancer. Gibson, an eight-year-old black lab, had been a vital presence at the courthouse since 2017, touching the lives of numerous people.
As the victim witness coordinator for Sangamon County, Tami Richmond, along with Diane Bell and Holli Gleason, served as Gibson's primary handlers. He wore a distinctive blue vest with a photo ID card, symbolizing his role as a service dog, providing support and comfort to those in need.
Gibson accompanied witnesses into the courtroom and was particularly instrumental at the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center during forensic interviews with children. Beyond the courthouse, he offered outreach and education to schools, healthcare facilities, and community organizations.
State's Attorney Dan Wright praised Gibson's invaluable contributions to law enforcement and his reputation as a friend to first responders. Gibson's intuitive ability to sense people's emotions and respond with empathy made him an exceptional companion during times of distress.
Richmond shared heartwarming stories of Gibson's natural instinct to offer comfort, such as consoling a grieving colleague without any prompting. The bond between Gibson and his handlers was profound, and he had become a beloved member of the community.
Gibson was the first service dog in the County, with the handlers working closely with Courthouse Dogs Foundation and Duo Dogs, Inc., going through rigorous training and certification processes.
Gibson leaves a legacy as a compassionate and dedicated dog. The County is planning a law enforcement procession to honor Gibson.