June 2023 Alumni Spotlights: Frank Loop (NAHS 1977) & Brian “Ozzy” Gibson (FCHS 1984)

June 2023 Alumni Spotlights: Frank Loop (NAHS 1977) & Brian “Ozzy” Gibson (FCHS 1984)

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This month, we present our careers in law enforcement issue. Think of all the different words we use when we’re talking about “cops”: trooper, detective, ranger, sheriff, officer, marshal. The actual career choices are even more varied. You can enlist in the Army and be part of its police force. You could join the FBI. You could train others. Use your imagination.

Against this rich backdrop, we present the profiles of two great alumni. It was so very refreshing to sit down with Frank Loop and Brian “Ozzy” Gibson and learn about wearing the badge and how it has shaped their lives.

Neither of them resembles Kojak nor Andy Griffith. They’re the real deal… and you’ll learn how they are both over-achievers! You’ll be glad you got to hear their stories.

Introduction and profiles contributed by Rex Bickers, FCHS ‘70

Frank Loop’s Bulldog days began in the middle of his junior year, when his family moved to Indiana. He was soon aware that New Albany had recently brought on several “newcomers”. They had all started about the same time, in 1972 or 1973. They were all very involved in coaching as well. They generated a lot of buzz, especially when compared to the “old guard” eras of Alex Thom and Forrest “Mac” McCaffry (43 years total as head football coach). Mac also stayed fifteen more years as AD from 1974 to 1989.

Hall of Famer Gary Austin had a large coaching staff which included both Ron Weigleb (later FC head football coach 1980-2003) and biology teacher D.J. Hines (Hall of Fame inductee also). Although Frank didn’t play football, he got to know both Weigleb and Hines, through the student trainer program of health and PE teacher, Don Ogle. Don was the first certified athletic trainer hired as staff at NAHS. It’s these three men that Frank remembers best.

Frank considered the college coursework to become a trainer, but he was paying entirely for his own education after high school, and he needed to work. He joined an EMS squad and soon befriended quite a few patrol officers who were happy to have him ride along. By age 22, after volunteering with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department, he was offered a job and sent to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

In his first fifteen years (1981-1996), he went straight up… not like a rocket, but a steady stream of achievements and innovation, one year after another after another… with highlights like this: sergeant in 1988, lieutenant in 1991 and a charter member of the Southern Indiana Drug Task Force. He started the first SWAT team in 1993. He went on to command it and started bicycle block watch patrols along with a special unit for water rescue and off-road emergencies. He secured funding that first put police officers at schools in Floyd County.

1996 was an inflection point for Frank. He seemed to clone himself and simultaneously take on two fairly different pursuits. He devoted time to important roles in Floyd County local government (Georgetown, and then Greenville). At the same time, his career advances and personal development kept rising. He was named Chief by Sheriffs Watson and Hubbard, and two years later completed the requirements to graduate from the FBI National Academy. His FBI experience motivated him to return to college coursework and earn a bachelor’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.

His most recent chapter begins with his election as Floyd County Sheriff in 2014 and his retirement eight years (two terms) later. [Read more about Frank’s accomplishments as Floyd County Sheriff.] Frank and his wife Mary Jo have two married children: Chris FCHS ’05 and Shelby Loop Leonard FCHS ’10. Chris and Shelby have added four grandchildren to the family. The couple now live in the Navilleton area. Frank is still figuring out how to be retired.

The alumni we profile here sometimes have connections. By coincidence, the May issue (with Kelly Watkins, FCHS 1984) and this profile are the first two consecutive stories of Highlanders from the same graduating class. Moreover, they both went to Galena Elementary. Brian “Ozzy” Gibson credits a Galena teacher, Mr. Joe Cailles, for a memorable early lesson in “values”.

Mr. Cailles was out for a few days. A few kids started misbehaving badly, then pandemonium followed. When Mr. Cailles returned, he didn’t single out the instigators. He rolled out an assignment to every kid in the class… write a short essay on this: “the misconduct of a few… corrupts and steals the learning opportunity for the many”.

Ozzy never forgot this lesson. In yet another small world twist, his family had friends in Greenville named Regina and Wayne Kessinger. Wayne was a Louisville Police Department captain, and he offered this life-changing advice: “you should consider police work as a profession”. Wayne would go on to work with Frank Loop in the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department. As Ozzy recalls, he was certainly lacking direction when he got that advice. He completed a degree at Ivy Tech in Business Operations at the time. Years later, he earned his B.S. in Criminal Justice from Bethel University.

In 1989, he joined the Louisville Police Department. In his class of new recruits, some of the training officers started calling him “Ozzy”. The nickname stuck. Over the next 27 years, he was a training officer, detective, sergeant, lieutenant and major, with eight years on the SWAT team. He became assistant chief in 2011 and deputy chief in 2014.

Along the way, he was awarded four Meritorious Unit Citations, two medals of Merit and more than fifty letters of commendation. He’s received Community Service awards from UPS, LG&E, US Marshals service, Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Jefferson County Circuit Clerk’s Office. He feels lucky and honored that he was chosen for some unique opportunities: the U.S Secret Service Dignitary Protection, DEA Covert Drug Operations, Department of Homeland Security, and the Louisville Metro Police Foundation.

In 2016, he retired as deputy chief, with the rank of colonel. Just months after leaving LMPD, Ozzy was asked to “un-retire” and take over Louisville’s Animal Shelter. Its conditions were dismal at the time. As director, he led the shelter’s staff through the construction of a 12 million dollar state of the art facility. A “No Kill Shelter” standard of 90% live release rate was achieved.

In 2019, Ozzy became the Interim Chief of Public Safety, overseeing the Animal Shelter, Metro Corrections, Louisville Fire Department, Public Works, Fleet and Facilities, along with Metro Safe/EMS. When Covid 19 emerged, Ozzy joined an operational team, aimed at handling unforeseeable needs as they unfolded.

These duties lasted until January 2023. With a new mayor elected, he now has dual titles: interim director of Parks/Recreation and executive director of Louisville Riverfront Authority. Is there any new timeline to retire? With no hint of bragging, he answers candidly: “I will do any job that is asked of me”. He is firmly committed to Mayor Greenberg’s success. Ozzy and his wife Annetta have lived in Louisville for three decades now. They share three wonderful sons together, a daughter in-law and one grandson.

Read the complete June 2023 Legacy Ledger

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