I’m a former law enforcement officer, having served 30 years with Miami-Dade, rising to the rank of captain. Cops are often questioned by wannabes about what to expect as a rookie on the job. They are concerned about joining a career path in a profession that is highly scrutinized and sometimes vilified by citizens and the press. They want to know what they’re getting into, if the risks are worth the effort, if the job is too hazardous and how serious the chances are for getting into trouble.

Twenty, forty or sixty years ago, my advice was always very simple. I would tell them:

  • Don’t pass up the opportunity. You will be considered a bona fide hero for serving citizens in many ways. You will be honored to protect the community and to know you’re playing a role in keeping people safe.
  • Know that you will often face dangers, instantaneous, unexpected and deadly while you’re also expected to maintain calm.
  • You will save lives, including victims of crime and, occasionally, lives of criminals. 
  • You will be respected by men and women in and out of uniform who stand up for you and your loved ones. Why? Because it’s their job.

Alas, times have changed. Whereby police heroes were always welcomed by citizens to maintain order and repress crime, cop haters have managed to create a new animosity toward the profession which, I believe, is unwarranted. Thus, many communities are now more unsafe for citizens as well as officers. Violent crime rates are exploding around the nation, whereby some prosecutors and attorney generals have issued pro-crime policies that make it easier or attractive for criminals to commit crimes, violent and non-violent, without being held accountable. The messages are clear: Disregard cops, take what you want, set fires to cars and buildings, loot and destroy. 

It’s party time for the crooks. 

More than ever, police officers are standing down in the midst of violence because the powers to be who disarm, detest and defund cops are dictating policies that aid and abet criminals with no regard for the victims of crime. It’s not the cops fault. It’s not necessarily the fault of earnest politicians. It’s the fault of ignorant voters who have been blinded and manipulated into believing police officers are our enemy. They are not. 

In some places, hatred toward police lies in spewing the false premise that cops are systematically racist. It’s a way overused term. Nothing can be further from the truth. Not in 2022, or yet, 2000. Those days are long gone. But there are those who continue stirring the pot of hatred. I was in Miami starting in 1960, when systems were, in fact, racist to one degree or another. But those (systemic) attitudes are long passed.

I was the captain in charge of major investigation into the death of Arthur McDuffie, a black man who was caught speeding at night in 1980 on a motorcycle. He had been apprehended and beaten to death by a group of out-of-control cops. It was my responsibility to investigate, arrest and jail five officers who were charged by State Attorney Janet Reno. 

Who said, “It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it?”

Following, the Arthur McDuffie murder, Miami-Dade managers (and many other agencies) looked into every aspect of racial discrimination in the police agency, from testing, to hiring, to training and deploying. Other police agencies in America, then and now, have upgraded policies that have put the “systemic” issue of racism to rest.

 Does racism still exist? Well, it’s possible that we may find a stand-alone relic of racism here and there among the 800,000 cops in America. But it’s not even close to “systemic.” Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

To police wannabes, I offer this advice: Go for it. We need you. America needs you, much like needing soldiers to fight wars. Sadly, there are those who wish to see our government fail. Cops are at the front line to prevent that.

We need heroes.

Marshall Frank

(This Op-Ed Article appears in today’s issue of Florida Today, 1-19-22)

If this retired police captain had a magic wand

Roughly 240 million 911 calls are logged every year in America. Five percent of those calls concern violent crime. Cops and firefighters are busy 365 days a year, making communities a safe place for residents and workers.

The best source for analyzing crime, in general, is not through the courts, lawyers, and prisons. No one is closer to such problems as is your local cop. It is he/she who responds to millions of calls for police service every year, from rescuing accident victims to surviving urban riots where everyone is at risk. They remain under the microscope.

 Marshall Frank, guest columnist

As a 30-year cop in Miami-Dade, Florida, with experience in various phases of law enforcement, I’ve seen my fair share of criminal conduct and the systems that have operated to deal with criminal behavior.

 If I had the magic wand, I would …

  • Appoint a joint committee made up of legal, social, and law enforcement personnel, to redesign drug laws that would put more emphasis on control, treatment, and mental health, rather than banishing users into prison cells for decades.
  • Establish a method by which we could identify people who suffer from psychotic issues and re-establish long-needed sanitarium facilities where mental health personnel treat the mentally ill — before committing a crime, not after. Recent studies reveal that 20% of prison inmates in state penal systems suffer from some form of advanced mental illness.
  • Decriminalize prostitution and establish laws that protect consumers. This would legitimize, sanitize and control such unenforceable ‘crimes’ that have been in the service business for centuries.
  • Reduce jail and prison populations by invoking the European model which hands out shorter sentences while converting those cost savings into funding for treatment, training and education.
  • Help released prisoners re-adapt to society after being incarcerated for many years. Such inmates often return to society with no support system or opportunities to survive with criminal records. This often results in choice recidivism, i.e. convicts committing crimes in order to return to prison.
  • Abolish capital punishment. Studies reveal that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime. It is an outrageous cost to taxpayers, far more than standard incarceration. Meanwhile, the risks of executing innocents, though rare, are far too great. One is too many. The state should not be in the business of killing another human being.
  • Let judges judge by doing away with minimum-mandatory sentencing.  Laws often require a predetermined number of years for inmates to serve in prison if found guilty of a felony regardless of circumstance. Prosecutors use these laws by negotiating sentences to secure a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence. Thus, many judges are stripped from exercising judicial discretion.
  • Why reinvent the wheel? We should focus on communities that have succeeded in lowering crime rates. “Stop-and-frisk” policies were highly productive in New York City in the 1990s under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. All citizens, black, white and purple, benefited greatly.
  • The claim that systemic racism runs rampant among police personnel is untrue. It had been true in past years. I know, I’ve been there. Some cops will occasionally be held to task for misbehavior in the heat of the moment. That does not make it “systemic.”  We need to support brave men and women in uniform, or we’ll find ourselves unable to fill vacant positions. Good cops will seek other jobs. The ultimate winners: Criminals. The losers: Citizens.
  • Citizens should oust public figures who lobby for defunding of police. It reveals other goals they have in mind which is clearly political. I firmly believe the enemies of America have been stirring hatred and sowing the seeds of chaos in order to destroy our democratic republic. The riots throughout America in 2020 and 2021 have shown this to be true. As career cops leave the profession, criminals are in wait.

    We must keep politics out of law enforcement.

    Marshall Frank is a retired police captain and author of 15 books. 


In a word:  Magnificent

The original 1961 movie version of West Side Story, directed by Jerome Robbins, won 10 Oscars. Sixty years later, the 2021 version, directed by Steven Spielberg, will likely surpass 10. It is a fabulous picture that deserves to be considered among the greatest musical/dramas of all time.

Sadly, the big screen theaters will likely be disappointing as the movie makers and movie fans these days are watching such films on at-home large screens. The Covid19 infestation may have much to do with that. I would still urge reluctant movie-goers to give the big screen version of this epic a viewing of the real thing. West Side Story deserves that.

Among the biggest stories of the 2021 version, is Spielberg’s utter genius in reaching out the virtually thousands of young actors/singers in assembling the very best cast possible. More often than not, youngsters who won a part in the movie had little background in show biz.

The major star playing the principal role of Maria, was plucked from a plethora of some 30,000 wannabees in an effort to cast the very best of the best. New to the movie industry, that role went to Miss Rachel Zegler, now age twenty. (Remember that name) Not only is Miss Zegler simple and beautiful, she has many natural elements needed in such an important role. Besides that, she has a pure and natural singing voice. No doubt, we will be seeing a lot of her in her movie career.

Interesting to note, in the 1961 version, the primary singers, such as Natalie Wood, did not actually sing because their voices were dubbed. In the 2021 version, the voices were not dubbed.

The full cast roughly included 30 street-gang players, some adult roles, all too many to include in a brief review. However, we must tip our hat to one star who appears in both versions of the movie, sixty years separated. That would be Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress in 1961. In the new version, she plays Valentina, an elder woman who interacts with the young Hispanics of New York City’s “West Side.” And, she also sings.

Special credits are owed to other players as well, one being Ansel Elgort, age 27, who wonderfully plays Tony, the “Gringo” with whom the star, Maria, has fallen in love. Another powerful actress emerged from the cast who we will surely see more often in the future. Ariana Debose plays a voluptuous Puerto Rican teen whose energy is second to none.

How will the awards be doled out from this movie? Very generous I suspect. Best director, best musical score, best set design, best acting in lead roles and supporting roles, best costumes, best  cinematography, best sound, and et al. We’ll know on March 27, 2022.

Plenty of trivia, for fans interested. For example: This is Rachel Zegler’s first film role. Stephen Spielberg credits her as the greatest Maria he’s ever witnessed.

For more trivia in “West Side Story” click on link below.  

West Side Story (2021) – Trivia – IMDb

West Side Story (2021) – IMDb







A Frank Movie Review: “RED NOTICE” – 5.5       

In a word: Copycat

Why “copycat?” Starting in 1962, Hollywood has given us twenty-five James Bond movies. Um, make that twenty-six. However, this latest copycat fails to name James Bond as the protagonist. Rather, the newest persona for a James Bond-like character is Dwayne Johnson, the highest-paid movie actor in modern times.

The primary story is simple. Dwayne Johnson’s 6’5” character plays a slick, gutsy  Interpol Agent who tracks planet earth in various nations, at least ten countries searching for the most valuable art piece ever, unearthed from the burial chamber of Cleopatra. His tenacious adversary is actor Ryan Reynolds, who lives the life of a marvelous thief suffering from mental traumas during his childhood.

If we close our eyes and just listen to the dialogue and the background music played mostly by brass horns, you’d think we’re in the chambers with Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig. The chases and smashing vehicles along with flying air crashes are not unique, nor are the repetitious scenes of hand-to-hand combat, with thousands of bullets flooding the screen, The primary characters survive with nothing more than a few boo-boos here and there.

Of course, just like James Bond movies, the plots and fight scenes are adorned with beautiful ladies who manage to win every confrontation against the array of tough, well-armed bad guys and good guys.

Is the movie entertaining? Of course, providing the viewer enjoys the basic style. The constant repetition (the S.O.S) doesn’t matter.

Acting is best performed by Ryan Reynolds, though certainly not his best work. Dwayne Johnson, in my humble opinion, is far over-rated as an actor, though he well-serves movie houses as a hero magnate for lovers of the genre.

Considering the $200 million cost for “Red Notice” plus the successes that will surely follow, I suspect producers are already planning a sequel which, naturally,
will feature the same star (Johnson) drawing millions of viewers. But he will never ever be deemed a first-class actor. No matter what name Hollywood bestows upon him, he will always be James Bond.


There will never be another Sean Connery.


I rate this movie 5.5 out of 10.

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW:  By Marshall Frank    “NO TIME TO DIE” – 6.0

In a word:  S0S

 (“Same old…uh…stuff”)

This review can be summed up in two words: — James Bond–. That says it all. That’s all that matters.

As I began writing the review, I thought about researching more background data; actors, directors, scenery, violence, travels to foreign lands, or casting the right proportioning of whites, blacks, males, females, bullets, bombs and car crashes. After all, it is a James Bond movie.

Was there anything new, unique, exciting or daring? Probably. I’m still mulling that over.  It’s tough to answer when the question asks for anything “new.”

What about the plot?  That’s an important item in creating storylines. Plot?

What plot? There was no plot. Somewhere in the dialogue, the actors posed as allies and/or villains, making sure there are at least two gorgeous, gun-toting women among the pack. But the basis for the story was as clear as a London fog. In truth, the movie was a carbon copy of other James Bond movies, just an excuse for blasting more sprays from guns, bombs, crashes, and violence in general.

For film buffs who have always loved James Bond, they will enjoy this movie about as much as they enjoyed the twenty-four previous Bond movies because it is close to a carbon copy, offering lines, scenes, characters and French Horns for background music, so we can pretend we saw a new movie.

Was it done well? Actually, yes. About as good as any other.  But I’d suggest future Bond releases be titled by the numbers: “26th Edition” – “27th Edition” — “28th Edition” — and so forth.

As Bond actors are concerned, Sean Connery still remains in a world by himself. 

I give this movie a 6.0 out of 10.

No Time to Die (2021) – IMDb