Holiday Angels: Sgt. Mary Dunnigan

The Examiner celebrates people who made a difference in 2006

Occupation: Officer in Charge, San Francisco Police Department Behavioral Sciences Unit.

Residence: Petaluma

What she does: Dunnigan oversees and coordinates the Hostage and Crisis Negotiation Team, Peer Counseling program and the Critical Incident Response Team, who work to help officers with crisis situations such as infant deaths.

Why she does it: Her husband is a San Francisco police officer and her father is a retired member of the force. She originally planned to be a social worker and is doing graduate work in family therapy. “For so many years, dealing with victims over and over on the street, it felt like putting Band-Aids on society because it was never-ending,” Dunnigan said. “But I soon realized that the police officers needed help too, and it can be really tough for cops to ask for help.”

The impact: “Sgt. Dunnigan’s efforts have brought peace, comfort and tremendous resolve to many, many citizens of San Francisco. Many broken hearts and lives have been touched by the wings of Sgt. Mary Dunnigan,” said Kevin Martin, vice president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association.

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