Cover: A Darker Shade of Blue: A Police Officer's Memoir by Keith Merith, ECW Press

A Darker Shade of Blue: A Police Officer’s Memoir

Merith, Keith

  • 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

    When 16-year-old Keith Merith finds himself pulled over, berated, and degraded by a white police officer, he’s outraged. He’s done nothing wrong. But the officer has the power, and he doesn’t. From that day on, he vows to join a police service and effect change from within.

    Twelve years and a multitude of infuriating applications later, Merith is finally hired by York Regional Police. Subjected to unfair treatment and constant microaggressions, he perseveres and gradually rises through the ranks, his goal of systemic change carrying him through. After a stellar career, Merith retires at the rank of superintendent, but his desire for sustained and equitable reform is stronger than ever.

    In A Darker Shade of Blue, Merith shares both his gut-wrenching and heart-warming experiences and advocates for immediate police reform in a balanced and level-headed manner. He praises the people in blue, but he also knows on a visceral level that there are deep issues that need to be rectified — starting with recruitment. He knows that law enforcement agencies should reflect the communities they serve and protect, and that all citizens should be treated equally. Entrusted with the duty to serve, Merith delivers an evocative perspective of policing by providing the opportunity to walk in his shoes, as a Black man, and as a police officer on the front lines.

    Available March 26, 2024. PRE-ORDER NOW!


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  • Retired police superintendent Keith Merith ended his 31-year tenure in 2017 after holding command positions, including Bureau Commander of Information Services and Court Services and Officer-In-Charge of Investigative Services and the Organized Crime Bureau. Keith volunteers with various organizations mandated to pursue social justice, police reform, and equality. He lives in Newmarket, Ontario.

  • Published: March 2024

    ISBN: 9781770416796

    Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.

    Pages: 320

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“This poignant account examines a thorny set of issues with clear eyes and bracing authority.” — Publishers Weekly

A Darker Shade of Blue is the riveting account of Superintendent Keith Merith’s thirty-one-year journey as a Black municipal police officer. He has chronicled experiences that will take you through a full spectrum of emotions from anger to triumph. The author is only the fifth Black police officer in Canada to write a book about their experiences, though the year of this book’s release marks 140 years of police service by Black Canadians (Peter Butler III, Ontario 1883). While much has improved, the author illuminates the significant work ahead to achieve true fairness and equity in our great country.” — David Mitchell, founding president of the Association of Black Law Enforcers

“In the 2000 movie Shaft, John Shaft, a former detective from the NYPD, said he was ‘too Black for the Blue, and too Blue for the brothers.’ Superintendent Keith Merith’s book serves as a powerful reminder that this burden and struggle are very real for Black Canadian police officers. The narratives and experiences in this book have reignited my commitment to doing the right thing. I wholeheartedly urge you to read this book and rekindle your own dedication to promoting equity, fairness, and justice.” — Dr. Frank Trovato, founder of TNT Justice Consultants

“Authentic, heartfelt, and wise, A Darker Shade of Blue is Merith’s timely and important memoir about his three decades as a Black cop in the Greater Toronto Area, where he tried to affect change from within as he rose through the ranks. It’s an intimate and compelling account of a career marked by both rage and reward, one that takes readers deep behind the thin blue line and reveals just how easily discrimination thrives — if we let it.” — Carolyn Abraham, award-winning journalist and author of The Juggler’s Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes That Bind Us

“A must-read for those interested in policing and the subtle and not-so-subtle effects of racism. Superintendent Merith leaves us with sensible suggestions for improvement and an appreciation of his love of service.” — Kent Roach, C.M., author of Canadian Policing: Why and How It Must Change

“Both fascinating and terrifying at the same time. A must-read for Black people considering the police service as a career today.” — Ron E. Hampton, retired police officer and former executive director of the National Black Police Association (U.S.)

“An illuminating and insightful exploration of the intricate intersections of race and law enforcement. With impeccable research and a deeply personal narrative, Merith brings to light the nuances of being Black in the blue uniform. This is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of modern policing and the transformative potential of inclusion. A landmark work.” — Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, professor and author of Waiting to Inhale: Cannabis Legalization and the Fight for Racial Justice