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Alpine, NJ - Parkway Police Chief Suspended After Lengthy List Of Violations Emerges Including Ticketing Incentive Program

Published on: July 12, 2018 10:52 PM
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FILE - Michael Coppola, Chief of PoliceFILE - Michael Coppola, Chief of Police

Alpine, NJ - A nearly eight month long review of the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department has led to a significant punishment for its commanding officer.

According to NJ.com, a report released on Thursday afternoon by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office hammered the department on several counts, prompting the 90 day suspension of Chief Michael Coppola effective July 16th.

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office found that Coppola ran an incentive program for officers who led the department in number of tickets written and arrests made, gifting winners with premium parking spaces and updated police cruisers.

Also included as bonuses were meal allowances whose cost was covered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.  The program, which violated New Jersey statutes and rules, was terminated as soon as it was uncovered by the prosecutor’s office.

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As previously reported on VIN News, parkway police have long been criticized for alleged insensitivity and racial profiling.

In an August 2016 incident, a Chaverim member was slapped with a ticket after he stopped to help a disabled motorist change a flat tire at one of the highway’s gas stations. 

Chief Coppola responded to allegations of insensitivity by defending the ticketing officer, noting that the Chaverim member had violated the highway’s regulations regarding authorized service providers.

Beginning in mid- November, the investigation was initially launched to look into a high speed May 2017 chase by parkway police that had officers pursuing a pair of motorcyclists at over 130 miles per hour, one of whom died in a crash on the highway. 

During the course of its review, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office reviewed 41 incidents of pursuit that took place over a three and a half year period and found that 36 had deviated from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Pursuit Policy. 

The violations included creating an unwarranted roadblock, making disallowed contact with a vehicle during a chase, speeding through intersections at overly high speeds and having an excessive number of vehicles involved in multiple chase scenarios.

No formal reviews were conducted in any of the chases investigated, another breach of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Pursuit Policy.

Parkway police were also found to have used the internet to entice some drug dealers onto police property and arrest them, an arrangement that often crossed into the jurisdiction of other county departments. 

In one highly publicized incident that took place last summer, a man who was pulled over by police on the parkway as part of a narcotics investigation died after falling off a cliff in Fort Lee as he attempted to evade officers.

Parkway police never conducted an internal affairs investigation in connection with the incident, and no officers were ever disciplined for violations that took place during several drug investigations.

The report recommended that an independent law enforcement professional be brought on board to help update departmental policies, with an interim police chief to be named to fill in for Coppola, who was advised to undergo police management training once his suspension ends in mid-October. 



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Read Comments (13)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 12, 2018 at 11:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Fire him for GOOD!
Don't let him come back after 90 days...no matter how much training he gets....

2

 Jul 13, 2018 at 01:31 AM Chaim Says:

That 6 mile stretch Police Dept and it’s courthouse has been corrupt for many many years. When I say corrupt I mean CORRUPT

3

 Jul 13, 2018 at 06:31 AM Anonymous Says:

Wow hopefully this whole department gets closed never understood why whould thier be a department on just a few miles they only cover that area have nothing more they should be taken over by Njsp or the Sheriff in Nj waste of tax payers money.

4

 Jul 13, 2018 at 07:51 AM Educated Archy Says:

Don't worry it's only police brutality and harassment of it's aimed at African Americans . If ifs aimed at privileged white men then it's all fair game .

It's similar to mass incarceration. If it's a minority with drugs then oy it's unjust . But if it's a white collar criminal who committed a misdemeanor oh then he is a crook and a swindle . And then the deep stage KGB will do fuzzy math to make it look bad ( like Medicaid recipients who stole $300,000 bec they got Medicaid inlawful for 3 years . They never disclose how they got those fake numbers but it sounds so scandalous ) it's all a fake world

Sad

5

 Jul 13, 2018 at 08:41 AM Large family Says:

I have written to the Governor of NJ (no reply received) to complain about the (I assume unintentional) discrimination against large families on the Palisades parkway .
They are only parkway in region that I am aware of that does not allow 15 passenger vans which are commonly used by frum families with large numbers of children and those with handicapped children.
There was a story on this website recently about someone who was fined $300 for taking their family on the Palisades.

6

 Jul 13, 2018 at 09:52 AM Hoshomer Says:

Government corruption in a liberal blue state, can't say I am shocked.

7

 Jul 13, 2018 at 10:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Large family Says:

I have written to the Governor of NJ (no reply received) to complain about the (I assume unintentional) discrimination against large families on the Palisades parkway .
They are only parkway in region that I am aware of that does not allow 15 passenger vans which are commonly used by frum families with large numbers of children and those with handicapped children.
There was a story on this website recently about someone who was fined $300 for taking their family on the Palisades.

They do allow 15 passenger vans.

8

 Jul 13, 2018 at 12:59 PM Citron Says:

Coppola should be fired, after his suspension ends; case closed!

9

 Jul 13, 2018 at 01:43 PM Large family Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

They do allow 15 passenger vans.

Sorry that is not correct. You can not drive a 15 passenger van on the Palisades in general. 72 Hours before you happen to be driving on the Palisades with your famly ..... You can apply for a permit which costs $ and they will only approve it if you are driving to visit a " A Parks Commision property "
From the Palisades Parkway website:
Bus Permits are required for buses or vehicles seating 15 or more people. Bus Permits are issued only for vehicles discharging and receiving passengers visiting Commission property, or are transporting students or children to a camp operated on Commission property, or are transporting students or children on an educational or cultural fieldtrip. All other buses must use U.S. Route 9W."

10

 Jul 13, 2018 at 02:41 PM triumphinwhitehouse Says:

this Mafiosi cop, should be not only fired and stripped of his pension but JAILED but he is probably a union guy so he cant get fired, the most useless "police" force after the port authority in the northeast.

11

 Jul 13, 2018 at 02:59 PM Frish Says:

He might as well wear a swastika and reveal his true colors

12

 Jul 13, 2018 at 04:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
Frish Says:

He might as well wear a swastika and reveal his true colors

Another law enforcement agent registered as a demorat

13

 Jul 13, 2018 at 04:55 PM fineshemker Says:

Abolish the whole PD its nothing but a patronage mill, let the NJSP or the Bergen County police take over

14

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