BULLDOG PRIDE FUND RECEIVES $1,000 ANONYMOUS GIFT: ~ In Memory of Lt. Barbara Hammerman ~ (June 18, 1959 – Dec. 31, 2006) ~
Barbara Hammerman passed away peacefully on December 31, 2006 at age 47 in her Belmont home with her long-time partner Frances Grunder at her side. Barbara was born in Chicago , raised in Scottsdale , Ariz. , and lived in San Mateo County for the last 22 years where she served proudly with the San Mateo Police Department as a lieutenant until her medical retirement in 2005.
Barbara was truly an exceptional person who excelled at everything she did. She was an outstanding athlete who competed in track and field, volleyball, and softball, winning a full athletic scholarship to Arizona State Univ. She was a member of ASU's nationally ranked softball team until she was sidelined by a career-ending injury in her junior year. With athletics temporarily in the background, Barbara sought out her next challenge. Her life changed when she was given a ride by a police officer after her car broke down. When the officer responded to a call-out while Barbara was with him and Barbara's adrenaline starting pumping, she knew that she had found her next calling. She became a police officer with the Mesa , Ariz. , Police Department at age 21. Times were very different then and when the department found out that Barbara was a lesbian, they asked her to leave despite her exemplary service record.
She relocated to a more progressive climate in California where she was recruited by several police agencies and hired by the San Mateo Police Department. During her tenure with the SMPD, Barbara rose through the ranks breaking barriers every step of the way. She was the first openly gay officer in San Mateo , the first female sergeant, the first female lieutenant, and the first female motorcycle officer. She served as an undercover narcotics officer for four years and as a hostage negotiator, headed the detective bureau, wrote the county-wide domestic violence response protocol, developed and instituted the Department's wellness program, and was a friend and a mentor to many officers throughout the county. Barbara helped many young people stay fit and develop self-esteem through her coaching and volunteer work with the San Mateo Police Activities League. She also was a regular competitor in the California Police and Firefighter Olympics where she medaled in many events. Barbara's involvement with her community extended to her off-duty time as well. She served on numerous boards and commissions including the California Attorney General's Commission on Domestic Violence, the Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse, and the County Mediation Program.
For her tireless service on behalf of the people of San Mateo County, the Board of Supervisors officially proclaimed Aug. 16, 2005 “Lt. Barbara Hammerman Day.” Today, in Barbara’s honor (and memory) the “Hammerman Award” is presented annually to a San Mateo County law enforcement officer for outstanding service to victims of domestic violence. In 2006, she was also presented the "Pride Alliance Award" from the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association.
Barbara loved the outdoors, and enjoyed many adventures there. She once climbed Mt. Whitney on the spur of the moment, going up and down in one day and then riding her motorcycle 350 miles home that evening. She biked the 500-mile AIDS Ride twice, once with her arm in a cast. She found great joy in Yosemite and hiked Half Dome regularly. She and Frances enjoyed their many trips to Alaska , Mexico , and Hawaii where they hiked, kayaked, and snorkeled. Somehow she found time to go back to college and maintain an A average while working 60 hours per week.
She earned a BA from the Univ. of San Francisco in 2002 and an MPA from Cal State , East Bay (formerly CSU Hayward) in 2004. One month after graduation, she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and given nine months to live. Barbara's pioneering did not end with her diagnosis. She and Frances sought out the latest treatments and enrolled Barbara in several clinical trials, the last of which involved an experimental vaccine made from her own tumor. The treatment was so groundbreaking that Barbara was featured on the ABC national news program “Good Morning America” (March 29, 2006). Her appearances gave hope to many people living with the devastating diagnosis who then sought to participate in the clinical trial. Although the vaccine appeared to eliminate her tumor, damage from earlier radiation treatments had caused irreversible and ongoing damage to her brain. Barbara embraced every aspect of life, loved every moment of it, never questioned why cancer happened to her, and had no regrets. Barbara is survived by many loving friends and relatives.
~ Revised from THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE ~ Published Jan. 7, 2007 ~
Visit www.bulldogpride.org for information and to contribute to the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund