HPD Officer and Boxer Cassandra Dominguez prepares to bring attention to Roccaforte and others in Smoker II ATO fundraiser

Tom Kennedy, Editor

It should go without saying that suspects in the territory of South Central Tact had better beware of SCT Officer Cassandra Dominguez and her ongoing training as a member of the HPD boxing team.

A college scholarship athlete before her HPD tenure began four years ago, Dominguez spent months working out with the boxers in HPD blue before she won her first-ever competitive bout at Smoker I a year ago.

The three-round bout against a heavier and more experienced HFD firefighter opponent saw the boxing rookie win her first effort by a 2-1 decision.

Gaining this confidence, Dominguez will be back for Smoker II on Saturday, Jan. 18 at Lucky’s Pub, 801 St. Emanuel.

Raising Awareness and Funds

Admission is free. There will be food, drinks, music and a host of vendors, especially those with boxing merchandise.

Officer Michael Agee, a leader in HPD boxing circles, told the Badge & Gun not to let the free admission fool you – this is another fundraiser for Assist the Officer Foundation.

Officer Dominguez will be part of a special boxing exhibition. No, she won’t be in an official boxing match but will be demonstrating techniques and moves learned this past year (since Smoker I) from professional boxing coaches.

Agee said his group will be taking donations to ATO as well as a 50/50 raffle and auctions. He explained that Smoker I required a toy donation for admission and resulted in the donation of more than 800 toys to the Children’s Assessment Center.

This year’s Smoker II is a different story.

Agee said, “The benefit event is designed to raise awareness, to support, celebrate, honor, and, most importantly, say Thank You to the first responders that put their lives on the line to protect the community.

“Officer Taylor Roccaforte gallantly performed his duty by stopping a violent crime spree in our city. Officer Douglas Moore came to the aid of Officer Roccaforte without hesitation and significantly improved his physical condition.

“Officer Vincent Zaunbrecher engaged the hostile threat, to end the threat to the officers.”

Thus, Smoker II will honor these three brave officers.

“Taylor is on one of our squads,” Dominguez pointed out to emphasize her special interest in working on the fundraiser.

Last Sept. 12, Roccaforte tracked down a carjacking suspect and got into an altercation with him. He was able to get off one shot but the suspect pumped three rounds into the officer, wounding him in his chest, his side and abdomen. Roccaforte’s fellow officers marveled at his quick recovery. The wounded officer was honored as the HPOU Patrol Officer of the Month in November.

Officer Zaunbrecher was helping Roccaforte when the suspect quickly appeared with gun in hand. Zaunbrecher shielded Officer Roccaforte and fired, hitting the suspect one time, stopping the threat on both officers.

As Agee stressed: “A police officer is tasked with not just enforcing the law, and he or she are also dedicated to protecting the community. Those acts usually last but a few moments but have a prolonged and profound impact on those involved.

“Every officer rises to the call of duty every time they walk through the doors at work. It seems credit is only given when they make the save, but that’s not how it should be.”

Besides the honorees at Smoker II, Agee said Dominguez embodies the dedication of HPD officers to be the strongest law enforcement officers they can be. He said the exhibition epitomizes this dedication, showing the world that the young officer is stronger than ever as the protective shield between dangerous criminals and the solid citizens of the Houston communities.

Dominguez, a graduate of HPD Cadet Class No. 223 in December 2015, had earlier graduated from Cypress-Fairbanks High School before going to Concordia University in Austin on a volleyball and track scholarship. In track she excelled at throwing the javelin and discus. She graduated with a degree in behavioral sciences on May 2, 2015 and entered the academy on May 26. She is one of the growing number of HPD legacies – the daughter of Sgt. Frances Dominguez of the Internal Affairs Division.

“Once I became an officer I started getting into more situations where suspects wanted to run or wrestle around,” Dominguez explained. “I joined the SCT and that’s when I met Agee. He’s always trying to get people to come out and train and I decided I could use some training.”

After she started the workouts Dominguez saw that she “loved it” and began to stress self-defense “or any kind of contact sports so that when confronted I would know what I was capable of doing.

Ready for Confrontations

“Boxing has really showed me how strong I am and what I’m capable of.” She works out with the other officers at least twice a week. It would be more often if boxing bouts were scheduled.

Okay, the B&G had to ask: Has she ever been confronted by a suspect who thought he – or she – could get the best of a female officer?

“I’ve been confronted several times,” she replied. “But I’ve never actually punched someone. Luckily, I’ve always had a partner there. I’ve come across guys on drugs who think they have super human strength. But I haven’t had any crazy injuries or anything like that. My partner and I were able to team up and get everyone in custody without any issues.”

Boxing has become a popular enough training pastime for both HPD and the Houston Fire Department to draw 25 officers and 25 firefighters on the respective boxing teams. They regularly compete in Guns and Hoses programs and fundraising activities such as Smoker II.

The primary training venue is the Martinez Boxing Gym in Midtown, just around the corner from South Central Station at 2201 St. Emanuel – near the University of Houston and Third Ward.

David and Allie Martinez have trained a growing number of boxers, both amateur and professional, over the years. Dominguez said fellow officer, Cynthia Garcia of North Belt Patrol also has become a competitive boxer. There will be three boxing matches pitting HPD officers against HFD firefighters at Smoker II but none involving either Dominguez or Garcia.

Agee said Dominguez will participate in a “hit-the-mit” exhibition, which entails the boxer striking the pads held by a boxing coach.

Agee especially wanted to promote Officer Cassandra Dominguez and her devotion to duty, saying she “also has given her free time to several boxing programs for at-risk youth in the community. She is an inspiration to not only to officers nationwide but youth in the community who see officers as role models.”