“Get in the front seat with me, Harlen “Lamb” Lambert as I take you for a ride-along, decade-by-decade as a black growing up, getting out of the house, serving our country, and eventually serving my community. My memoir has all the ingredients needed for a great read: history, intrigue, conspiracy, heartbreak, action, humor and suspense.

This is my story. This is the true story of the first black police officer hired for the city of Santa Ana, California in 1966 John Birch Orange County. It was a time when prejudice was rampant. I faced hatred not only from the community I served and lived in, thinking I was a traitor, but I had to fear my racist colleagues as much as the criminals I apprehended.

Could I maintain my self-esteem on the job when my community generally despised police officers as oppressors? Did my career in policing make me a sell-out, an Oreo – black on the outside, but white on the inside?

I had to be three times better than my white brothers-in-blue, and often many times more resilient. My life and that of my family were threatened on multiple occasions. I struggled for dignity in a department more often interested in my marginalization.”

But for the author’s files of news clippings, photos, awards, letters and memos, this story could not be told. It is an accounting of the ordeal of a black trailblazer in Santa Ana, but ultimately inspiring as a record of his determined spirit.

Badge of Color, Breaking the Silence is a relevant contribution to our national conversation about how to ensure every officer upholds the oath to protect and serve every American, and that when it comes to fighting crime, empathy and respect are equally as powerful as batons and guns.