Interim Evanston Police Chief Aretha Barnes to retire in early January

Interim Police Chief Aretha Barnes poses in front of the American flag and the City of Evanston flag for a department headshot.

Photo courtesy of the city of Evanston

Interim Police Chief Aretha Barnes. She is set to retire on Jan. 3, 2022.

Alex Harrison, Reporter

Interim Police Chief Aretha Barnes will retire from the Evanston Police Department, effective Jan. 3, 2022, the city announced Saturday.

Barnes was appointed in June by former City Manager Erika Storlie after the sudden retirement of the previous chief, Demitrous Cook. Barnes previously served as a deputy chief, most recently directing the department’s Support Services Division.

“Interim Chief Barnes has spent the better part of her career making Evanston a safer, more welcoming place to live, work and visit,” Mayor Daniel Biss said in a news release. “While her retirement is a tremendous loss for Evanston, I’m truly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her and even more grateful for the lasting impact she’s made on our community.”

Barnes, who holds a master’s degree from National Louis University, has served EPD for 25 years. Before coming to Evanston, she was an officer with the University of Illinois Police Department and worked in the Air Force. She has attended both Northwestern’s School of Police Staff and Command and the Executive Management Program, as well as the Police Executive Research Forum.

The city plans to announce the appointment of a new interim chief in the weeks ahead of Barnes’ retirement.

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