A national database documenting police misconduct has been named after the late Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis. 

The Law Enforcement Work Inquiry System Registry – or LEWIS Registry – is the first national database documenting officers who resign or are fired because of misconduct, according to a press release. The registry was named for Lewis, who died last year, in honor of his life and work. 

Dr. Erroll Southers, director of the University of Southern California Safe Communities Institute at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, and Dr. Güez Salinas, president and chief strategy officer of a technology company called DreamView, co-founded the registry. 

In addition to the creation of the database, an award called the LEWIS Registry Founders Humanitarian Award will be given out annually. Southers and Salinas selected Frank Serpico – the famous former New York City police officer who was a whistleblower on corruption in the department and served as the inspiration for the 1973 film “Serpico – as the first recipient of the award. 

Frank Serpico, the famous New York City police officer who was a whistleblower on corruption, has received the first ever LEWIS Registry Founders Humanitarian Award.

“The LEWIS Registry Founders Award is an extension of the work being done to document and try to end police corruption,” Salinas said in the press release. “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.”

A ceremony honoring Serpico is expected to be held this year, according to the press release.

“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,” Serpico said in the press release. “I am privileged to be able to accept this prestigious award in honor of whistle blowers past, present and future the world over.”

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.