Former NJ State Trooper Sentenced To Prison For Unlawfully Stopping And Following Female Motorist in His Patrol Vehicle

Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that a former New Jersey state trooper was sentenced to state prison after pleading guilty earlier this year in connection with an incident in which he stalked a female motorist in his patrol vehicle while on duty.

Michael Patterson, 30, of Bayonne, N.J., was sentenced yesterday to 12 months in state prison without possibility of parole by Superior Court Judge Andrea Carter in Middlesex County. Patterson pleaded guilty on Aug. 17, 2021 to a charge of fourth-degree tampering with public records. As a result of his guilty plea, Patterson forfeited his position as a state trooper and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

In pleading guilty, Patterson admitted that he purposely disabled the Digital In-Vehicle Recorder (DIVR) in his troop car to prevent it from capturing a motor vehicle stop he conducted so that he could make advances on the female motorist during the incident in question.

Deputy Attorneys General Adam Gerken and Jonathan Gilmore represented the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) at the sentencing hearing. The New Jersey State Police Office of Professional Standards initially investigated the case and referred it to the OPIA Corruption Bureau.

On Jan. 28, 2020, Trooper Patterson conducted a motor vehicle stop of a female motorist on the New Jersey Turnpike at approximately 9:30 p.m. Patterson let the woman go with a warning, but he conducted a second, unwarranted stop of her vehicle a few minutes later when she exited the Turnpike at Exit 11 in order to make advances on her. Patterson disabled the DIVR in his vehicle to prevent his conduct from being recorded during this stop. The investigation revealed that Patterson subsequently put the victim in fear by following her to her home in his patrol vehicle.

“We are committed to holding law enforcement officers accountable when they abuse their positions of trust,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “The New Jersey State Police expect the highest standards of conduct from their troopers, and the vast majority meet those standards each and every day. We owe it to the troopers, and to the public at large, to take strong action when individual officers betray those standards and engage in criminal conduct.”

“One of the primary missions of OPIA is to root out official misconduct that undermines faith in law enforcement and government,” said OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher. “This is not the first time we have encountered this type of conduct involving a law enforcement officer, but we hope that our criminal prosecutions will deter such conduct going forward.”

“The New Jersey State Police holds its troopers to the highest level of professional standards of any law enforcement agency in the country through a robust system of checks and balances that is designed to not only hold its members accountable, but to serve as a tool to provide training and counseling through early intervention,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The conduct revealed in this investigation stands in stark contrast to the core values of the New Jersey State Police and is a betrayal to the public and to the entire law enforcement community.”

OPIA has a toll-free Tipline 1-844-OPIA-TIPS for the public to report corruption. The Attorney General’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption. Information is posted at:

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  1. Hog wash your rooting out corruption, official misconduct is a 2nd degree felony 5-7 tears in prison and you let him plea for a 12 month sentence you call that rooting out bad officers!? a travesty this women must have been really connected or he would have got off totally and would still be working today

  2. I wonder what would happen to a female motorist who fails to stop for routine traffic stop because she fears the cop as a result of this incident. Another thing I wonder about is when will cops be held accountable for making traffic stops that endanger other motorists, such as when there traffic stops cause traffic to back up as a result, causing a lot bigger hazard than poor Joe Citizen who was exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph.

    • You are allowed to drive to an area you deem safe.
      But don’t try to run away and then use that excuse when caught.

      I know someone who actually did this, and though, to my understanding, the cop was upset at first, he calmed down when it was explained that no disrespect was meant but they just wanted to be in an area they felt safe.

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