New Book: Chief Carmen Best on Being Black in Blue


The first African American woman to hold the top policing job in Seattle, Washington, Chief Carmen Best (Ret.) served with the Seattle Police Department for 28 years. During her time as Chief, she achieved record breaking diversity statistics and reformed a police department that had historically lacked representation and inclusion.

She shares her personal insider story in her new book, Black in Blue: Lessons in Leadership, Breaking Barriers, and Racial Reconciliation — which was released on October 26, 2021. An inspiring story of change management that addresses pressing issues in society today, Black in Blue chronicles Chief Best’s journey to becoming the leader of the Seattle PD, while offering thought-provoking wisdom on the way forward for our country.

What It Means to Be Black in Blue

In her book, she shares hard-won lessons on the core qualities and mindset needed to persevere and achieve your goals, especially in places where the culture, leadership, and policies must be challenged to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments for all to thrive in.

Relating her lessons back to her own personal experiences as the first African American woman police chief leading her people through many watershed moments in policing history, she provides essential guiding principles for individuals and organizations as they navigate their own paths to success. Kathleen O’Toole, who preceded Best as Chief of the Seattle Police Department described Black in Blue as highlighting “the need for robust partnerships and thoughtful dialogue.” She added, “Carmen Best’s story underscores the value of personal relationships, incredible work ethic, and sheer determination.”

Chief Best first joined the Seattle Police Department in 1992, a turning point which marked a long and arduous journey for her career in law enforcement. As a black woman, the odds were stacked against her. It was a space where people like her had historically struggled to overcome the barriers in front of them. However, she managed to defy the odds and rise through the ranks of leadership, while never abandoning her commitment to safety and her community along the way.

Black in Blue in the Media

Black in Blue has been featured in major media outlets and is already receiving outstanding reviews. Here are some places where you can find coverage of the book. 

TODAY: Former Police Chief Reconciles Being 'Black in Blue' in New Book

NBC News NOW: Former Police Chief Shares Story, Looks Back at 30 Years of Service

MSNBC: Former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best: What Great Leaders Need to Understand about Diversity

Book Chief Carmen Best for Your Next Event

Whether you are hosting an in-person, hybrid, or virtual event themed around leadership, DEI, decision making, and relationship building, Carmen Best can share her story at your meeting. Contact us to get started!

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