Frank Serpico was born in Brooklyn, New York. When he was eighteen, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served for two years in Korea. After military service, he worked part-time and attended college, joining the New York City Police Department at the age of twenty-three. His police career has been well -documented in Peter Maas’s best-selling biography and in the Academy Award nominated film in which Al Pacino portrayed him.
Serpico’s career as a plainclothes police detective working in Brooklyn and the Bronx to expose vice racketeering was short-lived, however, because he swam against the tide of corruption that engulfed the NYPD during the late sixties and early seventies. Not only did he consistently refuse to take bribes for “looking the other way,” he risked his own safety to expose those who did. In 1967 he reported to appropriate officials “credible evidence of widespre
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