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New foundation continues the work of police officer and ISU grad Aréanah Preston

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Illinois State University graduate Areanah Preston worked as a patrol officer for the Chicago Police Department for three years. She was shot and killed May 6, 2023, near her home in the Avalon Park neighborhood.

A slain Chicago police officer and Illinois State University graduate will be remembered in a newly-formed charitable organization. The nonprofit Preston for Peace continues the community engagement that drove officer Aréanah Preston to a career in law enforcement.

Preston died in the early morning hours of May 6 while arriving home from a shift. Though off-duty at the time, Preston was in uniform when she was shot and killed. Four people were arrested in connection with the crime. The Chicago Police Department later ruled Preston’s killing a “line-of-duty death.”

The Peace for Preston foundation will raise money for a future community center offering job training, youth mentorship, cultural activities and wellness services.

ISU faculty remember Preston, a 2020 graduate of the criminal justice program, as a top student dedicated to making a difference. She became a police officer to improve community relations with law enforcement.

The foundation is pushing for memorial scholarships at Illinois State and Loyola University Chicago, where the 24-year-old was days from completing her master's degree when she was killed in an apparent robbery.

The foundation also will host a back-to-school backpack drive on Aug. 19 in Chicago's Avalon Park neighborhood.

And, the 8100 block of South Blackstone Avenue will be renamed Aréanah M. Preston Way in a dedication ceremony on Sept. 9.

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Lauren Warnecke is a reporter at WGLT. You can reach Lauren at lewarne@ilstu.edu.
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