Suspended police chief accused of buying cocaine online

Posted: Updated:
ALPINE -

Authorities say a suspended police chief in New Jersey has been buying cocaine online.

Prosecutors say Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Chief Michael Coppola, 43, went to a post office box to retrieve the order on Thursday. However, detectives had placed a package containing imitation cocaine in the box. Coppola was arrested during a motor vehicle stop in Ridgefield Park.

Coppola was suspended in July after the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office issued a report finding suspected violations of state laws and police guidelines within the department.

New Jersey Assemblyman Gordon Johnson says that he has plans to clean up the police department in the wake of the controversy surrounding Coppola. Johnson says that the department has been the subject of years of complaints of aggressive behavior. He says he is introducing legislation to give the department new leadership.

“The officers would probably welcome it,” says Johnson. “I think when you have a strong leader, a strong chief who’s fair, the officers appreciate that.”

The Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department has been monitored by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office since last year. The office found that officers with the department engaged in dangerous pursuits needlessly. Coppola is also said to have run incentive programs for officers to write tickets and make arrests.

The department patrols Palisades Interstate Park and the corresponding 11-mile stretch of the highway. Johnson says that the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department could be put in charge.

“It may be more efficient to turn this over to the Bergen County Sheriff Department. I’ve spoken with the Bergen County sheriff. He’s willing to do it,” Johnson says.

Coppola is charged with attempting to possess cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He's scheduled to make a court appearance on Aug. 22.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Aftermath of bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy

    Aftermath of bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy

    A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.
    A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.

    A bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 45 meters (nearly 150 feet) into a heap of rubble.

    A bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 45 meters (nearly 150 feet) into a heap of rubble.

  • Photos: Flooding around New Jersey

    Photos: Flooding around New Jersey

    Tuesday, August 14 2018 5:09 AM EDT2018-08-14 09:09:38 GMT
    Over 100 evacuated following flooding in Brick TownshipOver 100 evacuated following flooding in Brick Township

    Pictures of flooding around New Jersey

    Pictures of flooding around New Jersey

  • Guide: Where to find food trucks in New Jersey

    Guide: Where to find food trucks in New Jersey

    Food Truck Friday: Callahan'sFood Truck Friday: Callahan's

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them in New Jersey.

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them in New Jersey.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."