Former DPD officer appeals for understanding

The Detroit News

After nationwide reports of officers being disciplined for speaking out on social media after the Dallas shootings, including in Detroit, one former police officer’s appeals for understanding and compassion are drawing praise.

In a lengthy Facebook post Monday night, Merri McGregor recalled her first day as a Detroit police officer at age 21 and the next 17 years of “a whole lot of heartache” on the job. McGregor, who retired in 2014, posted a photograph of a smiling young woman in a playful pose that she said was taken by her mom as she headed out the door to her first night shift at the 12th Precinct.

“Armed with my dad’s badge that he wore for 25 years on my chest, one of my mom’s sergeant stripe patches in my pocket” she recalls the giddiness and excitement of that first day, with “a gun I was barely old enough to purchase bullets for on my hip and enough naive courage for a small army.”

Detailing the sights, smells and sorrow of “the next 17 years” of “missed Christmases with my family” and dodging bullets in dark alleys, McGregor says these were the “things that we volunteered to deal with so that you don’t have to. Things I don’t want my sister, little cousins or YOU to even have to KNOW about.

“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.”

She urged others to be “more understanding and compassionate toward one another.”

“Are cops perfect? No. Are there bad cops? Yes. But please...understand that the vast majority of police are good, loving, well intentioned family people. They have husbands and wives and children and parents and pets and cousins and mortgages and electric bills and lawns that need cutting, just like you. They have hearts and consciences. They aren’t robots, they’re not machines and they just want to help keep the wolves away from the sheep. I KNOW there’s people who don’t deserve to wear the badge but they’re SO VERY few and far between. It breaks my heart to see all this hatred and anger flying around. All it’s doing is encouraging more of the same.

She goes on to say in her lengthy post that “if you’ve read this far, thank you for listening.”

McGregor’s post is in contrast with one that landed a Detroit detective in hot water. Nathan Weekley, a 17-year veteran of the department, was demoted to the rank of officer for his Facebook post after the police killings in Dallas during a Black Live Matter rally. Separately, four Detroit men were arrested for allegedly threatening on Facebook to kill police, Chief James Craig said.

McGregor’s post struck a chord with Facebook commenters as it gathered thousands of shares.

“So wise, so perfectly stated....., said one Facebook post.

“Thx for sharing Merri-everyone needs to read these words-u r amazing and thank you for your service,” said another.

Others said the letter brought them to tears. Another said McGregor inspired her.

“I’m really so taken aback by all of this, I’m (not) quite sure what to say or do,” McGregor said Tuesday of her viral post. “I had no intention of my little rant going so crazy ... just thought I would blow off some steam (to) my own little FB group of friends.”