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Frank Serpico

FRANK SERPICO was born on the 14th April 1936  to Italian parents. When he was eighteen he enlisted in the United States Army and served two years in Korea, later he worked as a part time private investigator and as a youth counsellor, while he was at college. Then in September 1959 he joined the New York Police Department (NYPD). As a patrolman it was his ambition to become what he most wanted to be a respected cop, he worked for two years filing  fingerprints  before  he  was  assigned  to  patrol  in  the 81st precinct; then in plainclothes he encountered widespread corruption. Working in Brooklyn and the Bronx to expose vice racketeering was short-lived, because he swam against the tide of criminality that engulfed the NYPD during the late sixties and early seventies. He refused to take bribes to 'look the other way' and he risked his own safety to expose those who did.


 After numerous failed attempts to report this corruption within the established police and government, In 1970 Serpico went public on police corruption, speaking of bribery and kickbacks. The New York Times published an explosive story. Partially in response to this the then New York City Mayor John  Lindsay established the Knapp Commission to investigate the assertions. Serpico received many death threats, because he was testifying against a former partner. Somehow they knew of Serpico’s suppose secret meetings with top police investigators. While on a drug bust in February 1971. Serpico was shot point blank in the face. It is believed that his fellow officers were trying to silence him by setting him up to be shot, and then by not calling for help. Frank’s colleagues, with whom he had been working since being assigned to narcotics, failed to call in an officer distress signal and they left him bleeding on a tenement stairwell. An elderly gentleman comforted Frank and called the police. Only one police car responded; his colleagues were nowhere to be seen. Frank paid a high price for the courage he displayed as a lone honest cop. Frank Serpico  was  deafened  in  his  left ear by the gunshot, which severed an auditory nerve.


 He survived and continued to testify for the Knapp Commission. He  retired  from  the  NYPD in June 1972. He was also awarded the Medal of Honour for conspicuous bravery in action. While travelling  in  Europe  during 1979  to 1980, Frank Serpico lived in Orissor college in Corwen, incredibly he was one of the  founders and Director of Orissor which used  to be known as the the Old Union Work House and more recently Corwen Manor (His signature is on the deeds). He was well known in and around Corwen and frequently mixed in the towns pubs, some of the older towns folk remember him well. After a disagreement with Orissor he stayed for a few weeks in a B&B before he returning to New York City in 1980.