We have just learned some heartbreaking news from California. The widow of a slain officer, that passed away in 2009 due to injuries sustained in a firefight with a suspected rapist, passed away this past week.
Angela Dunakin, who was a former Alameda County sheriff’s deputy as well, tragically passed in a car crash. However, with her passing, she managed to give newfound lives to four other people.
Angela Dunakin was traveling back from Chico State University on Sunday evening after visiting her youngest son in college and bringing him cookies.
She had stopped at a red light on Highway 99 in Yuba City when a large truck crashed into her car from the rear. She was pronounced dead on Monday at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.
Sadly, tragedy sometimes has a way of coming full circle as evidenced with this family. Angela Dunakin, 52, was the wife of the late Oakland police Sergeant Mark Dunakin.
Mark Dunakin, along with Sergeant Ervin Romans, Sergeant Daniel Sakai and Officer John Hege, were fatally shot by a gunman on March 21, 2009, in the worst tragedy for the Oakland police department. Dunakin and Hege were slain during a routine traffic stop by a man suspected of rape that they had pulled over.
Later that day, the same man fired a volley of gunfire at SWAT team members Romans and Sakai when they tried to arrest him at his home. The gunman had also died during the fray at his home.
When Angela Dunakin was an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy, she had also lost her partner in 1998. Deputy John Monego had passed away after being shot 6 times by a gunman when he responded to a 911 hang-up at an Outback Steakhouse in Dublin, California where Dunakin was actively being held by the gunmen responsible for his death.
Angela Dunakin leaves behind three children; the oldest Anthony, 25, her middle child Sienna, 24, and the youngest, Patrick, 19, who she visited the night of the fatal crash.
While Dunakin left behind a loving family, she also managed to leave behind hope and a legacy of compassion. When Angela passed, her organs were donated and managed to save at least three lives, her friends and family said.
Her kidney went to her oldest son’s girlfriend’s mother, who somehow, was a perfect match, according to her daughter Sienna Dunakin.
Sienna Dunakin stated when noting her mother’s gift:
“It makes us so happy, that she’s going to have a lot more years to her life. I’m glad my mom was able to give us that gift in the face of tragedy.”
Angela Dunakin’s heart went to a person in Washington, while her liver to a recipient in Southern California. Dunakin’s tissue will also be donated as well.
Sienna Dunakin also mentioned when remembering her upbringing from her mother:
“She encouraged us to stay in school and that the most important thing is to be kind, and to have empathy toward others.”
Angela Dunakin had also just welcomed their first grandchild in January of this year, which she reported to the East Bay Times back in March during the 10-year anniversary of her husband’s death. Her daughter, Sienna, said that her mother’s granddaughter was her life.
Even though she’s in law school in Ohio, her mother would take time to video chat with her, and baby Riley.
Sienna Dunakin said.
“My mom just wanted us to be happy. To be happy and to feel safe.”
Nikki Romans, the widow of the slain officer Ervin Romans, flew to California on Monday upon learning of the passing of her dear friend. Romans had last seen her friend in September, during a retreat for widows who lost their law enforcement husbands in St. Louis, Missouri.
When Romans heard the news of her friend’s death, she said it was like “life draining out of my body.”
She said besides her husband’s death, this was the second most devasting loss in her life. The two had also attended every memorial service every year for their husbands who died in the line of duty.
When remembering the effect that Dunakin had on her life, Romans said:
“Angela saved my life these last 10 years and I saved her life, it’s just that bond.”
Renee Hassna, the executive director of the Oakland Police Officers Association and close friend of Angela Dunakin, said the following about her friend’s love for her children:
“Her children were her world. Her children looked up to her and respected her immensely. Her children said she taught them strength and how to be resilient.”
The Peace Officer’s Association, who is currently trying to raise $30,000 for Dunakin’s children, had the following to say about her in their description on the fundraiser:
“Angela put everything she had into her children and worked hard to make sure her kids were taken care of. Now they are left alone needing to figure out their lives and how to move forward without either of their parents in their lives.”
Our hearts pour out to the family of Angela Dunakin, and while she may have passed, we’re certain that the impression she left on her children and those around her will having a long-lasting, loving impact.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Proceeds get reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
Last month, our National Spokesman wrote about how we can’t afford to become numb to the deaths of police officers – but is it too late? In case you missed it… here were his words in October:
There were two unspoken rules when I worked in television:
- If it bleeds, it leads.
- The news cycle is short.
I couldn’t help to think about that today as I read the headlines on Law Enforcement Today. We lost two more incredible officers. They are two stories that will be briefly covered by the mainstream news, because they’re juicy enough to pull in viewers for a few minutes. And then as soon as the next tweet comes out about Trump, the story will move on.
But we can’t afford to forget. We can’t afford to simply MOVE ON. Because in doing so, we lose a piece of our soul as a country.
Today, Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was murdered in cold blood – shot during a traffic stop.
— KPRC 2 Houston (@KPRC2) September 27, 2019
His death came just hours after Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Tracy Vickers was killed in a violent car crash.
The entire @FLHSMV family mourns today for the loss of one of our own, FHP Trooper Tracy Vickers. Trooper Vickers was a hero and leader within the patrol and his troop. We ask that you keep his family in your prayers. #FHP #EOW pic.twitter.com/4woSEWdiE5
— FLHSMV (@FLHSMV) September 27, 2019
Chris Cosgriff, the founder of the Officer Down Memorial Page, put it best:
“When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation.”
Yet it’s so easy to forget. To lose context. To miss the brief media coverage – if it’s even there – and then get fired up about the next political story that hits our social media newsfeed.
Let me share some numbers with you.
91. That’s how many officers have been killed in the line of duty so far this year.
164. That’s how many officers were killed in the line of duty in 2018.
927. That’s how many officers were killed in the line of duty over the past five years.
1,715. That’s how many officers were killed in the line of duty over the past ten years.
23,854. That’s how many officers have been killed in the line of duty for all time.
That’s a lot of hurting families. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends. That’s an immeasurable amount of grief, pain and sorrow.
We’ll never be able to put a number on how many lives those losses have destroyed. How many loved ones have turned to opioids or other ways of dealing with their pain.
We’ll never know how many lives we lost to suicide from those who could no longer cope.
159. That’s how many officers have died by suicide so far in 2019.
167. That’s how many officers have died by suicide in 2018.
169. That’s how many officers have died by suicide in 2017.
142. That’s how many officers have died by suicide in 2016.
Let’s talk about the media again for a second. In their hunger for the “if it bleeds, it leads” search… they love buzzwords. And one that they seem to frequently toss around is “epidemic”.
“We have a suicide epidemic.”
“We have a gun epidemic.”
Here’s what I’d position to you. Perhaps what we really have is a “soulless” epidemic.
Perhaps we’ve become so desensitized to violence, death and destruction that we no longer value life the same way we once did. Perhaps we’re so caught up in our battles with our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers on social media that we’ve forgotten out to treat people. How to take care of people. How to LOVE people.
We’ve forgotten how to grieve. How to mourn. How to heal.
We’ve been blessed to work side by side with Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) as they rebuild the shattered lives of families who’ve lost officers in the line of duty.
But we need to address the root of the problem. We’ve kicked God out of society. We’ve replaced personal relationships with social media. We’ve put our faith in the media instead of humanity. And we’ve put a value on the lives of our protectors – and that value is about 45 seconds on the news… or however long it takes for the next story to pop up into our newsfeed.
So we’ve made it our mission at Law Enforcement Today to help change that… through stories. Over the coming weeks, you’ll notice a renewed focus on sharing the stories of wounded officers. Fallen heroes. Patriotic Americans. Those who serve and protect our communities and our country.
You’ll see us talk a lot about LET Unity. It’s a new home focused on bridging the gap between civilians and civil servants. We’ve merged with The Whiskey Patriots to massively expand content, rolling out hundreds of videos to members. The revenue from memberships goes entirely back into telling the stories of our emergency responders that the media has silenced.
Many of those in our focus groups dubbed it the “Netflix of the law enforcement community”. But the truth is, it’s so much more.
The first officer in the door at the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Emergency responders from the Parkland shooting.
The bomb squad that responded to the Aurora movie theater massacre.
Survivors of the Dallas five killings.
The first Marine Guard hostage in the Iran crisis.
The CIA agent who started a counter human trafficking company.
World War II veterans.
And so, so much more.
The membership is less than the cost of two coffees a month, and those who sign up for an annual membership will get some surprise bonuses in the mail. We decided to charge a nominal fee so we could take all of the proceeds and reinvest them into capturing more of these stories.
On top of that, we’re opening up the platform to some well-known podcasters who are going to be joining the team with some incredible content soon.
We have a problem in society. Censorship has created an existential threat to democracy. But even worse is the risk we run that some of these incredible stories of patriotism, hope, faith and our Sheepdogs would be lost.
We’ll soon be launching a series of content with Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) to share the stories of survivors. We will also be dropping a weekly law enforcement focused newscast that addresses some of the most important topics in the country… and helps bridge the gap between those who serve and those whom they serve.
On top of that, we’ll soon be rolling out a series of private discounts and special promotions to members only as a “thank you” for being a part of the family.
The beta platform is live and the apps for Apple, Android, Apple TV and Roku will be launching soon.
We hope you’ll join us in this journey, knowing that your membership is going to give a voice to those who have been silenced for so long.
If you are one of the many companies out there that’s being censored – or you’re worried about what’s to come – don’t hesitate to reach out today at [email protected]
We will not be silenced. You shouldn’t be either.
God bless you all, and God bless America.