Officer Aréanah Preston was what every police chief should look for

Not many individuals are willing to come into law enforcement these days to be a change agent, as she wanted to be.

SHARE Officer Aréanah Preston was what every police chief should look for
A police officer salutes as the coffin carrying Officer Aréanah Preston’s body is taken out of Trinity United Church of Christ after her funeral on May 17.

A police officer salutes as the coffin carrying Officer Aréanah Preston’s body is taken out of Trinity United Church of Christ after her funeral on May 17.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

I woke up on May 6 to the news about the murder of off-duty Chicago Police Officer Aréanah Preston, 24, who was killed in Avalon Park. As I read the media reports, I was very saddened by this tragic loss of not only a Chicago police officer but an outstanding individual and someone who wanted to have influence in law enforcement.

Officer Preston grew up in the city. Her college professor stated she stood out in class as ambitious and professional, and she wanted to advance. She was homegrown, educated locally, female, young, African American, and stayed in the community she served — that should mean something to every Chicagoan.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 375 words.

In addition, she wanted to get involved with new policing methods, even with the reported decline in numbers in the law enforcement profession. Not many individuals are willing to come into law enforcement these days to be a change agent, as she wanted to be. And for her brief time in the Chicago Police Department, she did just that.

Plenty of politicians will praise her short career and her willingness to stay in Chicago. You will see individuals supporting the police, asking how this could happen and how it continues. These are highly violent times, and police officers are battling for their lives and fighting to save the communities they serve. When there is a deep dive into the backgrounds of the suspects, we will likely learn more about their criminal histories and how the court system has failed them and us as a society.

After serving 37 years in police work and 13 years as police chief in Riverside, I was often asked by citizens, politicians and other leaders, “What do you look for in an officer?”

Aréanah Preston was what I looked for, and so should ever chief.

Tom Weitzel, retired chief, Riverside Police Department

Creating tollways is a dumb idea to stop shootings

I can’t believe that State Sen. Thaddeus Jones believes that making them tollways will help stop the shootings on the expressways. Gang-bangers can pay tolls also.

I as a taxpayer would like to see your idiotic plan. It will probably put more money into politicians’ salaries. Don’t you politicians in Springfield have better ideas than this? Fight crime and install cameras, so lawbreaking people are caught. Quit trying to get more money from taxpayers who pay your salary.

Any other politicians that believe this is a good idea need to get their heads examined, because if so, you have flown over the cuckoo’s nest.

Gerald Burnson, Tinley Park

The Latest
I think about the empty schools, churches, stores, and office buildings around Cook County. There must be a way to convert these places into shelters.
It’s a frustrating, unsatisfying time to be a baseball fan in Chicago no matter where your allegiance lies.
Before a downsized version of the Maxwell Street Market reopens at its original home near UIC’s campus, we asked Sun-Times readers to share their memories of what made the old market such a great place.
Weeks after hammering out a deal with to rein in cost overruns, Mayor Brandon Johnson on Tuesday joined the architectural team led by Skidmore Owings & Merrill in unveiling the design, inspired by the orchards that once stood where O’Hare is now.
Victoria Moreno, 35, faces counts of murder, aggravated battery and kidnapping charges after authorities said she threw Josiah Brown into the water on Sept. 19, 2022 and watched him sink without trying to help.