I recently learned of her death from friends who reside in Riverside, including police officers, and read her recent obituary in the newspaper. I was also honored for my name to be included in her last column, which was edited by Bob Uphues, as she reflected on her life.
I thought I would just briefly tell you about the JoAnne I knew. I first met her when I was a patrol officer working in the crime prevention unit. She invited me to appear on an RBTV program she was hosting. At the time, we discussed burglary prevention, theft prevention, and other safety measures you should take around your home to not become a victim of a crime. She made my experience on RBTV enjoyable, educational, and just fun.
I did RBTV programming with JoAnne several times over my years working in Riverside, including up through when I was the chief of police. Additionally, she would cover police-related community programs from time to time in her column in the Landmark newspaper. She was a law enforcement supporter and, more importantly, a community safety spokesperson. She genuinely believed that Riverside was a unique, beautiful, and safe community and wanted to keep it that way.
There were times when JoAnne would come into the police station and drop off cookies. She also brought or ordered food for the police department during the pandemic without being solicited to do so. She just wanted to make sure the officers knew that not only did she support them, but the community did as well. She asked me once to co-anchor the 4th of July parade commentary with her. I enjoyed that, and she knew every single person in the parade, who they were, where they lived, and what they did for a living — it was remarkable.
JoAnne will be sorely missed by me and the police community in the west suburbs and I thank her for all she did to keep us smiling!
Chief Tom Weitzel (Ret.), Riverside Police Department