Francesco Vincent "Frank" Serpico (born April 14, 1936) is a retired American-Italian New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer, known for whistleblowing on police corruption in the late 1960s and early 1970s, an act that prompted Mayor John V. Lindsay to appoint the landmark Knapp Commission to investigate the NYPD. Much of Serpico's fame came after the release of the 1973 film Serpico, which was based on the book by Peter Maas and which starred Al Pacino in the title role, for which Pacino was nominated for an Oscar.
Serpico was born in Brooklyn in 1936, the youngest child of Vincenzo and Maria Giovanna Serpico, Italian immigrants from Marigliano, Naples. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed for two years in South Korea as an infantryman. He then worked as a part-time private investigator and a youth counselor while attending Brooklyn College.
In September 1959, Serpico joined the New York City Police Department (NYPD) as a probationary patrolman. He became a full patrolman on March 5, 1960. He was assigned to the 81st precinct, then worked for the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) for two years. He was finally assigned to work plainclothes, where he uncovered widespread corruption..
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