LOS ANGELES—The LEWIS (Law Enforcement Work Inquiry System) Registry – a national database documenting officers fired for misconduct – honored social justice activist and former New York Police Department detective with the first-annual LEWIS Registry Founders Humanitarian Award.
The award will be presented annually to a current or former member of law enforcement who has intervened, called out, or reported corruption or misconduct at great risk to themselves or their livelihood.
The award is named in honor of the late John Lewis, a civil rights giant who led the infamous march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Lewis was also one of the original freedom riders during the civil rights movement who took his fight to the halls of Congress. The registry represents the first national police misconduct database of its kind.
Former New York police detective Frank Serpico, who was immortalized by Al Pacino in the 1973 film Serpico, has been named the first-ever recipient of the award. Serpico famously exposed rampant corruption in the New York City Police Department in the late 1960s to early 1970s. He is now a prominent anti-police corruption activist. LEWIS Registry co-founders, Dr. Erroll Southers, director of the USC Safe Communities Institute (SCI) at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and Dr. Güez Salinas, president and chief strategy officer of DreamView™ selected Serpico for his brave deeds and continued efforts towards the eradication of police corruption.
“We’re proud to present the first ever LEWIS Registry Founders Award to Frank Serpico, a true champion in the fight against police corruption and misconduct,” said Dr. Southers. “We hold him, and others like him, in the highest esteem and know that they put their lives on the line to do the right thing.”
“The LEWIS Registry Founders Award is an extension of the work being done to document and try to end police corruption. Those who speak out and effect change should be recognized for their efforts. We could think of no better standard-bearer in this fight than Frank Serpico.” said Dr. Salinas.
“I wish to thank Drs. Salinas and Southers for recognizing me as the first recipient of the LEWIS Registry Founders Humanitarian Award named after Rep. John Lewis and in honor of his passing on July 17, 2020,” said Frank Serpico. “I have often stated the importance of recognizing Lamplighter-Whistle Blowers for their sacrifice and service as pillars of the community. I am privileged to be able to accept this prestigious award in honor of whistle blowers past, present and future the world over.”
The LEWIS Registry is the first comprehensive national catalog of police officers who have been terminated or resigned due to misconduct. Designed to hold police officers and departments accountable and increase public trust in law enforcement, the LEWIS Registry is a publicly available resource of officers separated due to misconduct.
In an effort to promote transparency, the database will document all police officers who were terminated or resigned due to misconduct with available details such as excessive use of force, corruption, domestic violence, sexual assault, physical assault, harassment, perjury, hate group affiliation or falsifying a police report. All information in the registry is drawn from public sources, such as official department statements, court records, police notices, news reports and other open sources.
The LEWIS Registry will have a phase one launch in Fall 2021 for public use, with a subsequent law enforcement beta phase in early 2022.
An awards ceremony honoring Frank Serpico is slated for later this year.