Frank Serpico, the renegade cop from New York City made famous by actor Al Pacino in a film about his life as a cop who would not stand for corruption, changed the world of criminal justice. Serpico stood up against police corruption, which he saw first-hand as a New York City police officer. His constant complaints about the widespread corruption he saw in the department made him an outsider. Serpico’s courage and determination to expose corruption made him the bravest and most honest man in policing history. Serpico was so determined to rid the NYPD of corruption that he testified against his fellow officers amongst the Knapp Commission to better his department. If more police officers took on such a high standard of courage, honor, and determination as Frank Serpico, Police Departments and the Criminal Justice system in general would become a far better and coherent system. Francesco Vincent Serpico was born on April 14, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York to Italian immigrants. From a young age, Frank admired the local policemen (Up Against the Cops). He loved detective stories on the radio and dreamed of wearing the uniform. When Serpico turned eighteen, he joined the United States Army and served in Korea for two years (Kilgannon). Upon his return to the United States, Frank decided to go to college to study law enforcement. After graduating, Frank applied to the New York Police Department. He was accepted and on September 11, 1959, he became a probationary patrolman of the NYPD. Serpico officially became a patrolman on March 5, 1960 where he was assigned to the 81st police precinct (Freeinfosociety.com). From the beginning Frank Serpico was appalled at the cliquishness, payoffs, free meals, and the big, blatant bribes from criminals, gamblers, numbers men and ordinary merchants to other officers (Kilgannon). He was already convinced the whole system needed cleaning up, and began carrying extra guns for protection and a concealed tape recorder to...
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