The investigation was launched after the death of a motorcyclist who lost control and crashed during a high speed chase that exceeded 130 miles per hour.

The chief of the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department will be suspended for 90 days following a review by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office that showed the department made serious mistakes over the last four years, authorities announced Thursday.

A report from the prosecutor’s office says that an investigation of the department, which included a monitoring program that began in November, resulted in the suspension of Chief Michael Coppola by the department.

Chief Michael Coppola (Palisades Interstate Parkway Police)

The chief reportedly ran an “awards and incentives” program for officers who were rewarded for writing the most tickets and tallying the most arrests. Winners received better parking spaces, newer police vehicles and a meal allowance paid by Palisades Interstate Park Commission funds, the report states.

When the program was discovered during the investigation it was ended as it was considered to be a violation of state statues and rules.

The report also stated that Coppola’s company, CJIS Solutions LLC, provided IT services for the department and that it was a “potential severe conflict of interest.”

Coppola did not charge for, nor directly profit from these services, but the prosecutor’s office still directed the department to sever the agreement.

Finally, the review showed that officers created the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Association, which was being represented as a charity instead of a labor group when the department solicited donations, authorities said.

The prosecutor’s office determined that actions of the officers did not warrant criminal action and that the department should conduct its own review for “possible administrative action.”

Coppola could not be immediately reached for comment.

The chief’s suspension will begin on July 16 and an interim chief will be appointed. …read more

Source:: New Jersey Real -Time News


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