STUYVESANT, N.Y. — He no longer looks like the young, full-haired, wild-eyed officer played by Al Pacino in the 1973 film “Serpico.” But the real Frank Serpico, 79, was still energetic and loquacious as he headed to visit the local county fair last week on its opening day.
He passed by the hula hoop contest — “I don’t want to show the kids up” — and stopped at the booth of a local hunting club. There, he regaled members with stories from his days in the New York Police Department, when his whistle-blowing made him a household name, led to the formation of the Knapp Commission to investigate police corruption, and resulted in a best-selling book and critically acclaimed film.
Mr. Serpico still lives in the secluded rustic cabin he built in the early 1980s on a large, wild parcel he credits with helping his convalescence.
He calls it an area where “if the ticks don’t get you, the politics will.” To hear him tell it, behind the lovely vistas and friendly faces lie bastions of malfeasance in local governments that rival the corruption he encountered in the Police Department.