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Letts: Uvalde Body Cam Footage Shows Exactly What Police Officers Can't Afford to Do

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For police officers, hesitation is not an option.

In a situation in which innocents are put at risk, officers should do whatever is necessary to keep innocent people safe from harm. Hesitating — and even using personal judgment — is a sign that maybe someone shouldn’t be a police officer. Because that can make all the difference between life and death.

I’m speaking about Crimson Elizondo. CNN reported that she was recently hired as a school officer by the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. However, body cam footage has revealed her role in the tragic shooting that took place in Uvalde this year.

Elizondo has been identified as one of the state troopers who arrived on the grounds of Robb Elementary within minutes of a call about a gunman entering the facilities.

Now, as you know, over 370 officers were waiting outside due to a lack of leadership from the police department, resulting in the gunman killing 19 students and two teachers. But Elizondo’s case is particularly disturbing due to footage captured by another law enforcement officer on the scene.

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That’s because Elizondo could be heard saying at one point, “If my son had been in there, I would not have been outside. I promise you that.”

I have a real problem with this. Not because Elizondo stood outside with the other officers waiting for some sort of command. But because this comment showed a lack of respect for life. If it had been more personal to her — if it had involved a family member — she would’ve saved them at all costs. But not other children?

That’s not supposed to be the judgment of police officers. Their job is to put their life on the line protecting innocents. Not just people they know. All innocents. Taking care of them no matter if there’s a relation or not. Elizondo’s comment sounded like, “Well, they aren’t my kids, so I don’t mind standing outside.” It’s as unprofessional as you can get.

Apparently the school district felt the same way. It fired Elizondo, not only because of her actions on camera but also because she is under investigation for them. And based on said footage, rightfully so.

I remember reading another story about an officer who learned that someone he was related to was inside the building. He was ready to go in and rescue her at all costs after receiving a phone call from her. Alas, he was restrained because of the callous leadership in Uvalde’s police force at the time, resulting in the tragedy that occurred just moments later.

That officer didn’t deserve to lose a family member, and more could’ve been done to save all of the victims. Leadership failed everyone — and Elizondo’s body cam footage is another sign of just how bad everything was. I mean, come on.

The investigation is still underway, and all I can hope for is that the officers responsible for the lack of action on the scene are disciplined. And that includes Elizondo. People depend on you for protection. You can’t pick and choose how that’s done; you have to protect. That’s the job of an officer.

I’ve been in law enforcement for over 30 years, and while I’ve seen a lot of unprofessional acts in my time, this one just eats away at my gut.

I understand you have to take care of your family — I get that — but to put them ahead of others in the face of tragedy? That’s just plain wrong.

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This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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