Almost 20 years ago, Officer Andy Gibbs was a young man recently graduated from community college. He came to the Abington Police
Department to begin his career, bringing with him his experience of working with children and the spirit of a servant heart cultivated in his family during his early years.
Officer Gibbs grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, graduating from Notre Dame High School and Northampton Community College in Easton where he earned his AAS degree in Criminal Justice. During his school years, he
worked for the Bethlehem Parks and Recreation Department where he helped run playground programs. From 1995-96, he worked at St. John’s Lutheran Church Day Care. Andy recalls that his family was always involved in church activities, cooking for church dinners and helping others with rides and companionship.
Through his community college, Andy learned of the police test being given in Abington for a consortium of departments. He took the test successfully, was interviewed by the Abington Police, and was offered a position as a Patrol Officer in 1996. Since then, Officer Gibbs has served as a Crisis Negotiator,
DARE Officer at Copper Beech Elementary School, and a Field Training Officer for new officers joining the force. He enjoys the fact that his work allows him
to interact with people all day long, and that he never knows what is going to happen when he walks in the door each work day.
Since 1999, Officer Gibbs has served a total of 8 ½ years on the Willow Grove Park Mall beat, which he attributes to influencing his becoming involved in Abington PAL. He had many occasions to observe kids hanging out at the mall with nothing constructive to do. Then, during a time when he was recovering from an injury, he was temporarily assigned to the Community Policing Division, and that gave him the opening to work at PAL.
From the start, Ofc. Gibbs liked going to the PAL site and providing kids with a different viewpoint about cops. He enjoyed chaperoning PAL kids on trips, especially to the Eagles training camp in Bethlehem. Since he has coached various sports, he found it only natural to help out with another athletic program, “Kids on the Hill” PAL golf camp as well as spring baseball.
Ofc. Gibbs lives in the community he serves and protects and likes to contribute above and beyond his sworn duties. For two years, he ran the Abington Bulldogs wrestling program and coached for four years. He coached soccer for the Ardsley North Hills Athletic Association and he has recently been involved with Hunter Soccer Club, serving as an assistant to one of the coaches.
Andy believes that the best way to create a positive community for children is for everyone to get involved. In fact, he goes so far as to say that people should volunteer because it is part of the job of human beings: “We are here to help our fellow man, and if everyone did a little bit, this world would be an even better place.” Of course, his fundraising pig roasts have become legendary. Andy launched this idea as a hobby but was soon not only offering the roast as an Abington PAL auction item but also helping out behind the scenes at the annual PAL Food Festival.
Andy’s dream is to see a community center that offers tutoring, homework support, and activities for youth, as well as a place where seniors can go for companionship and activities. He feels it is vital that kids have a place where parents know they are safe as they engage in fun activities. He believes that what makes Abington-Rockledge extra special is the community’s willingness to invest in itself. He notes, “The connection between government entities and the public is unsurpassed in creating a safe and healthy environment for citizens.”
Andy, his wife Shawna, their son Reese and Andy’s parents make their home together in the Ardsley section of Abington Township. When not on his beat
or volunteering, Andy says he is an avid reader and a self-taught blacksmith and wood- worker. In fact, he helped build the PAL float for the 2014 Glenside July
4 Parade. He loves to play soccer and to cook: nothing makes him happier than to throw parties and prepare food for guests.
Andy hopes that adult volunteers and teachers can convey to youth just how important they are to a strong community. He wants adults to encourage young people to take ownership and to take on roles in their community and then
to provide those communities with opportunities to make changes. Andy was honored by Abington PAL in 2011, and now ACT takes great pleasure in honoring his service to this community.