Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Dominguez retires; Brust assumes command

Gratitude ran deep when a large group of coworkers, community members and representatives from various agencies gathered on March 10 to celebrate Lt. Alex Dominguez’ retirement after 28 years with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

“Alex Dominguez makes a commitment and he lives up to it,” said Cmdr. Al Skoglund, who oversees the Fallbrook Substation and Vista Station. “He has been a wonderful friend and partner.”

Skoglund read a letter of appreciation from Sheriff Bill Kolender to Dominguez at the event.

Dominguez brought many ‘firsts’ to Fallbrook. The first gang sweeps took place under his watch; the first evacuation of the entire community (Rice Fire) took place during his tenure; and most recently, the first alcohol enforcement detail was exercised in Fallbrook.

“Under Alex’s command, the relationship between the Sheriff’s Department and North County Fire has never been stronger,” said North County Fire Chief Bill Metcalf.

With a special nod to Dominguez, Metcalf stated, “You are my hero.”

In reference to the challenges of the Rice Fire, Metcalf said, “That was an extraordinary event that we worked on together, facing things that have never been faced in this community.”

To recognize the commitment Dominguez made to the community, Metcalf presented him with a Public Safety Service Award with two areas of commendation. Additional awards, certificates and gifts were presented to the retiring lieutenant by others.

Caroline Smith of County Supervisor Bill Horn’s office presented Dominguez with a Proclamation from the Board of Supervisors declaring March 10 as Lt. Alex Dominguez Day.

“[Dominguez] has done an absolutely outstanding job becoming part of the fabric of this community,” Smith said.

Senior Agent Scott Gicking of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), North County office, said his agency wanted to extend their appreciation to Dominguez for “assisting us over the years.” He read a letter from FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledging Dominguez’ efforts.

A humbled Dominguez accepted the gestures with appreciation and gave an emotion-packed farewell speech, extending thanks to his staff, peers, supervisors and the Fallbrook community.

“I’ve worked with so many fine people,” Dominguez said. “This is a proud, professional, productive group .”

To his replacement, Lt. Phil Brust, who assumed command of Fallbrook on March 13, Dominguez said, “This is a great community and station to work in.”

The new commander of the Fallbrook Substation is no stranger to Fallbrook. Brust, with 28 years of law enforcement experience, worked patrol here in the early ’90s and for 15 years lived in the Friendly Village, where he and his wife raised their three sons.

Although he now resides in Oceanside, Brust said he is pleased to take the Fallbrook assignment and has a strong commitment to public service.

“I’ve already met some wonderful people and I look forward to working with the community and the personnel at the Fallbrook Substation,” Brust said. “I want to make sure if a citizen calls the Sheriff’s Department, they get a deputy sheriff. We’ve always provided quality service to the community and I want to make sure we continue.”

Brust said he has a good opinion of the staff assigned to Fallbrook and admires the job Dominguez did here.

“I’m grateful for all the hard work Alex did while assigned to the Fallbrook station,” Brust said. “The credit for the success of the station goes to the personnel who are here day to day helping the community in so many ways. We have a sensational group of volunteers, professional staff and deputies.”

Brust assumed command of Fallbrook on March 13. Not only did Brust admit his admiration of the Fallbrook staff, he lauded Dominguez for a job well done.

“I wish him well in his retirement,” Brust said.

With wife Jill and son Rico in attendance, Dominguez said his plans for retirement include “being a better husband, father, son and friend.” He thanked his family for their “support and understanding.”

“It’s time to move on; it’s a good thing,” he emphasized. “I’ve always said, ‘This is what I do, not who I am,’ but now I’m wondering if that’s accurate.

“I’m not sure if we really retire or just give back the uniform.”

To comment on this story online, visit


Reader Comments(0)