Whistleblowing in the movie Serpico

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Criminology

Document 1

Whistleblowing is a very difficult endeavor as there are dire consequences to whistleblowing to the whistleblower's career and personal life as well. In the movie, Serpico, an honest New York police officer in the 1960s and early 1970s blows the whistle upon witnessing rampant corruption in the force, but later on, had to face critics and have his colleagues turn again him. Unlike the rest of the police officers in the police post, Frank Serpico refused to take bribes from drug dealers and local criminals. This made it difficult to work with the other police officers who routinely extort money from criminals. This put Serpico’s live in danger. In this essay, I will highlight some of the instances of whistleblowing discussed in class relating to the conditions for whistleblowing and tips for engaging in whistleblowing and how they relate to the actions and scenes in the Serpico movie. Below is a list of ten concepts that match the Serpico Movie: i. The whistleblower has to be confident that he/she is dealing with a severe problem. Before going ahead and whistleblowing, it’s important for the employee to have identified a serious threat of harm to the consumers, the employees, the stakeholders and things and actions that are against moral/ethical rules. In the Serpico movie, when Frank Serpico joined the New York Police department, he learns on the first day that his colleagues where corrupt sharing money from the extortion of criminals. Serpico was a moral person who had learned a lot from his father who once told him, “Never run when you’re right” and therefore it was hard for him to witness accept the corruption and abuse of power in the police department.

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Serpico routinely makes decisions guided by his conscience and not the immediate environment, and as time went by, he was convinced of the existence of a severe problem upon witnessing his colleagues extort money from criminals over and over again and the superiors doing nothing about it for years despite his efforts to inform of the behaviors. ii. The whistleblowers should have facts about the issue For whistleblowing to be morally justified, the whistleblower should have documented evidence that is highly convincing of the existence of a serious threat to the people involved such as the company, the customers, the employees, and the general public. Such facts ought to prove actions against ethical rules or the law so as to over proof to the general public and in court if it goes to the extent.

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In the Serpico movie, Serpico had clear facts about the corruption problem including the envelope given to him containing a sum of $300 bribe in it and from another officer too. The officer informed that it was from the “Jewish Max,” a popular gambler. Serpico presented the evidence to the superior, to his surprise, he received a warning from the captain not to proceed to the commissioner. iii. The whistleblower has to focus only on what is wrong and not the person or personalities involved. In the Serpico movie, Serpico witnessed many instances of corruption, abuse of power and betrayal among dirty cops which were threatening to the lives of the people. Rather than fighting crimes and upholding the law to protect the people like they are expected, the cops took bribes from criminals and drug dealers which put the lives of the people in the society in danger.

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It also put the lives of honest cops in danger, for instance, Serpico was once warned by a precinct captain that being honest among corrupt officers would make him a marked man, he says, “they don’t have to do anything to you. All they have to do is not be there when you need them. ” This was proven when the backups failed to offer their support to Serpico when he was trapped in a door and later shot. This is one of the 10 tips we discussed when engaging in whistleblowing. In the movie Serpico, this is clearly demonstrated by the manner in which Serpico first even thought of the fact that maybe the police officers accepted a bribe because of the low salary they got which was not enough to cater for the families.

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However, he finally made the decision to take his story to the reporter of the New York Times when his supervisors refused to take any action and the captain even warned him against proceeding to the commissioner. Serpico chose his battle right and finally testified in court with the hope of bringing change to the New York Police Department. vii. ix. Identify allies who can help you and support you When Serpico was confused on what to do, he talked to Durk because he also knew Durk was a policeman who was different from the others and that he also had a different background with his father being a doctor. Since Durk was also not in support of the police corrupt practices, Serpico identified him as his ally to help in his plan to fight against the high corrupt levels in the New York Police department.

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Together, they made several efforts to get in touch with different contacts that Durk knew, but no one was interested to seriously tangle the issue that the police command was ignoring the systematic corruption throughout the New York Police Department. x. Retrieved from https://www. youtube. com/watch?v=X5ldkvzaWgc.

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