A Darker Shade of Blue
A Police Officer’s Memoir
by Keith Merith
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Pub Date 26 Mar 2024 | Archive Date Not set
A transparent first-hand account of a Black officer maneuvering through three terrifying yet rewarding decades of policing, all while seeking reform in law enforcement
Sixteen-year-old Keith Merith finds himself pulled over, berated, and degraded by a white police officer. He’s done nothing wrong — he was only looking for a parking spot. But the officer has the power, and he doesn’t. Keith never wants to be in that position again. From that day on, he vows to join a police service and effect change from within.
Twelve years and 13 police services later, Keith is finally hired by the York Regional Police. Although subjected to unfair treatment and constant racial “pinpricks,” he perseveres and gradually rises through the ranks. After a stellar career and passionate pursuit of systemic change, Keith retires at the rank of superintendent. But his desire for sustained and equitable change persists.
In A Darker Shade of Blue, Keith advocates for immediate police reform — starting with recruitment. He wants to see inclusive law enforcement agencies reflecting their communities and behaving in a manner that honors their obligation to serve and protect citizens equally. As a Black man charged with the duty to serve, Keith delivers an evocative perspective on all sides of policing by providing the opportunity to walk in his shoes.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
"A Darker Shade of Blue" by Keith Merith is a compelling and eye-opening memoir that provides a candid look at the life and career of a Black police officer in North America. Merith's personal journey from a traumatic encounter with racial profiling to his eventual retirement as a superintendent is a testament to his perseverance and determination to bring about much-needed reform in law enforcement. The book offers valuable insights into the challenges of systemic racism within the police force, advocating for inclusive recruitment and equal treatment of citizens. Merith's storytelling allows readers to walk in his shoes and serves as a powerful call to action for immediate and sustained police reform.
Officer Merith's enthralling, comprehensive memoir recounts his 31 years of service for the York Regional Police as a black male. At the time that he was hired into the department there were very few officers of color. He recounts his perseverance with signficant systemic rascism with elegance and honor.
In addition to sharing about his struggles, Officer Merith shares many stories from his career about situations during his career that shaped him. I enjoy learning through Officer Merith's descriptions what the life of a police officer is like. During his career he worked in several departments and his descriptions of his different assignments were fascinating.
Officer Merith includes historical context about racism in North America citing several well know examples as well as several examples that were new to me. This added a really powerful historical context to Officer Merith's experiences. Additionally, he provided very unique insights on police reform.
I highly recommend this book and hope that this well written memoir will help many appreciate the challenges faced by police officers of color leading to improvements in the system.
Thank you to NetGalley and ECW Press for an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.