This week, Police Chief William McManus congratulated Perla Dominguez as the first woman to complete the department's current 'formal' SWAT training program, noting the process that retired SAPD detective Holly Vizcarrondo went through 26 years ago was an 'informal' interview process.
After serving 28 years with the San Antonio Police Department, retired detective Vizcarrondo said she was ecstatic to hear that another female officer was among the newest members of SAPD'S SWAT team.
"This is Perla's time! [Officer] Perla Dominguez is an exceptional lady and exceptional officer,": Vizcarrondo said. "I feel she's going to far exceed anything I ever did and I love that she has people surrounding her and support her and I was okay until yesterday when the press conference came out."
In a press conference held Wednesday, Chief McManus broke down the current 'formal' process all applicants are required to go through.
"The tryout process as is it today was formalized back in 1996 and when I say it was formalized that means prior to 1996 there weren't any specific physical requirements to get into SWAT it was more or less an interview and the comfort of the team to allow you into the unit, but it was formalized back in 1996 and now it involves different areas of skill and abilities," Chief McManus said.
McManus continued on to say "Officer Dominguez is the second female officer assigned to the SWAT unit. Retired Detective Holly Vizcarrondo was the first female on the SWAT team back in March of 1996. However, Officer Dominguez is the first female to successfully complete the rigorous, formal tryout process with the condition as it is set today."
In 1992, Vizcarrondo broke the squad's all-male barrier, becoming SAPD's first female SWAT officer.
"We ran the mile and a half, push-ups," Vizcarrondo said. "I remember having to put on gear and have to jump up a fire escape and pull myself up a fire escape with my upper body, not just the pull ups.then we had to do the firing range and shoot which I loved back then... I did do the tactical problems and I enjoyed that and then after all that we did the interview."
She says many people, including former colleagues, reached out to her and felt the Police Chief's comments downplayed her accomplishments and as well as the departments.
"So many women before me have, they paved the way so I could do what I did. Don't disrespect that don't dismiss it like it was just an 'informal interview' and it was the good 'ole boy system because it wasn't." Vizcarrondo said. "Women back then worked extremely hard and faced obstacles to get where they had to go and I know they do that today."
KENS 5 reached out to SAPD tonight, Chief McManus responded with the following statement:
I wanted to highlight the accomplishments of Officer Dominguez. It was not my intent to diminish the achievements of Retired Detective Vizcarrondo.