(NEW YORK) — One former police officer’s story has gone viral overnight after she urged both citizens and law enforcement to put an end to unnecessary violence in wake of the recent Dallas shootings.
Merri McGregor, 39, of Harrison Township, Michigan, shared her tale on Facebook of being on the Detroit police force for 17 years. Now, she’s receiving messages from people across the globe.
“I just felt like blurting out what I was thinking,” McGregor told ABC News today. “I see all this stuff on TV and Facebook and think, ‘Wow, I’m really disappointed in you guys.’ I thought we were better than that. People are sharing, ‘kill the cops’ and the Black Lives Matter movements and I felt like I was standing in the middle of a tornado. Enough is enough. I had enough. I’m so sad at the way the world is like. There’s this chain reaction of hate. This is not the way things are supposed to be.”
Along with her post, McGregor shared a photo of herself from September 1998 — the same night she worked her first shift as a police officer in the 12th Precinct with the Detroit Police Department.
McGregor said she always wanted to be a police officer, like her mother, Adele Flannery, who was a 28-year veteran, and her dad, Andy, a 25-year veteran.
“I loved my job and I was proud of what I did,” McGregor said. “Both of my parents were Detroit police officers and my uncle. I guess I really admired them. My dad always had his partners over and I’d listen to the talk. I thought of them as heroes.”
McGregor remained on the force for 17 years — dodging bullets, answering calls to burglaries and homicides, and getting guns off the street.
In 2013, McGregor was involved in a police chase. The vehicles crashed and she suffered a head injury, ruptured discs and permanent nerve damage in her arm, she said.
“That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” McGregor said. “The frustration of being hurt and not being able to do my day-to-day routine, it wore on me. I ended up being diagnosed with PTSD. It was really hard for me to talk about. I guess I got sick of seeing dead babies and burnt bodies and I couldn’t do it anymore.”
McGregor left the police department in 2013 and was released on duty disability retirement since she was injured in the line of duty, she said.
“I wanted to go back but I never really realize how badly the job impacted me emotionally,” McGregor said. “Now, I feel like it’s OK to talk about.”
On Monday, McGregor took to Facebook to share some of what she experienced while working on the force in hopes that it would inspire citizens and officers to support one another.
“I know what a bullet sounds like when it’s whizzing past your ear, a few inches away,” she wrote. “I know what the sound of a Mother’s shrilling scream is like when she finds out her son has been killed in the middle of the street and I know what it’s like to have to tell a wife and mother of 3 that her husband was killed in a car accident while on his way home from work.”
“[T]hings we can never forget, no matter how hard we try; things that haunt our sleep at night and our thoughts during the day; things that we volunteered to deal with so that you don’t have to,” she added. “I never once went to work thinking, ‘I’m gonna beat someone tonight. Hmmm…I think I’m gonna kill someone tonight.’ I DID, however, go to work every night, knowing that I was going to do the best I could to keep good people safe, even if that meant that I died doing so.”
McGregor’s post has been shared more than 105,000 times thus far.
“My mind is completely blown and my heart is so full,” she said of the positive feedback she’s received. “I just hope that the police have more understanding and compassion of the citizens and the citizens for the police. We need coexistence no matter what color we are, religion, culture, all those are just details. If we want this to stop then we’ll stop.”
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.