Former Bensalem Director Frank Friel dies
Courtesy Bucks County Courier Times.Frank Friel, Bensalem’s first public safety director from 1989 to 1997 and a longtime member of the Philadelphia police department, died Saturday of cancer. He was 71.
Friel joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 1960 at the age of 18 and rose steadily through the ranks, making captain before leaving to take the Bensalem job when that township switched from a police chief system to public safety director.
As a Philadelphia cop, Friel was perhaps best known for his role in the arrest and conviction of Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo and several of his associates. From 1982 to 1986, Friel headed Philadelphia’s Organized Crime Task Force.
He co-authored the book “Breaking the Mob” in 1990.
After leaving Bensalem, Friel started Atlantic Security International Investigations. He has been a guest lecturer for the FBI on matters of organized crime, served as a consultant to Major League Baseball on organized crime, and taught courses on the subject at La Salle, Temple and St. Joseph’s universities.
Friel was a charter member and first chairman of the Vidocq Society, a group of forensic experts dedicated to solving cold case homicides. Since 2006, he had been director of
security and safety for the Independence Visitor Center Corporation in Philadelphia.
Friel had also appeared on “60 Minutes” and other television shows.
He and his wife, Kathleen, lived in Bensalem since they were married 17 years ago. The couple has four children from previous marriages and three grandchildren.
“I feel Frank touched many lives and, every life he touched, those people were better for knowing him,” said Kathleen Friel. “I loved him very much and myself and our children and grandchildren will miss him very much.”
Bensalem Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo said Friel will be fondly remembered in the township.
“Frank was a dear friend,” said DiGirolamo. “I was on the Blue Ribbon Panel that selected Frank as the township’s first public safety director. He was a very professional director who made the Bensalem police a department second to none, and that has continued since he left. What he accomplished during his life was incredible.”
“Frank was a true leader and got our police department moving again after a time of disorder,” said Bensalem’s current public safety director, Fred Harran. “He brought us back to one cohesive unit and took us into the 21st Century.”
A memorial Mass for Friel will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Ephrem Roman Catholic Church, 5400 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem. Friends may call from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass. Interment will be private.
Contributions in Friel’s memory may be made to the Bridge to Healing c/o Alliance Cancer Specialists, St. Clare Medical Building, 1203 Langhorne-Newtown Road, Suite 135, Langhorne, PA 19047.We Recommend
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