Serpico and the Future of the Blue Code of Silence


  • Martin Alan Greenberg Russell Sage College



whistleblower, police corruption, blue wall of silence, Municipal Police Training Council, George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, National Police Misconduct Registry, LEWIS Registry


This article reviews several of the moral messages found in the film Serpico (1973, 129 min.) with emphasis upon understanding the meaning of the phrase “the blue wall of silence” as well as current efforts to limit its occurrences and harmful effects. The article includes details about the life of Frank Serpico, picking up where the classic Hollywood film left off. Policing in the 1960s and the current nature and the future of policing reforms are considered. Serpico’s present-day opinions about police corruption and violence are also discussed. In addition, the newest private effort to use technology to bring transparency and accountability to law enforcement—the Law Enforcement Work Inquiry System (LEWIS) registry—is described and recommended for national implementation.

Author Biography

Martin Alan Greenberg, Russell Sage College

Dr. Greenberg is the author of seven books concerning community safety. He is currently the chair of the Section on Security and Crime Prevention within the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the president of the Virginia Association of Criminal Justice Educators (VACJE). He also serves as the volunteer director of education and research for the New York State Association of Auxiliary Police, Inc. He was formerly a high school security aide, New York City Police Department auxiliary police deputy inspector, senior court officer, and probation officer in New York prior to pursuing an academic career that included serving as chair of criminal justice and law enforcement programs in Arkansas, Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. His most recent book with co-author Dr. Beth Easterling is Reframing Police Education and Freedom in America (Routledge 2023). He is a graduate of New York Law School and received his PhD in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York.




How to Cite

Greenberg, Martin Alan. 2022. “Serpico and the Future of the Blue Code of Silence”. International Journal of Police Science (IJPS) 1 (1).



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