Cotton man charged with impersonating officer

The 62-year-old allegedly tried to stop several people while driving around in a Crown Victoria equipped with lights.


VIRGINIA — A Cotton man has been charged with impersonating an officer after authorities said they received at least three reports of a man stopping fellow motorists in a vehicle resembling a squad car.

Michael Wayne Hillier, 62, was arraigned Friday in State District Court on gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor counts for allegedly using prohibited lights and acting with intent to mislead others into believing he was a law enforcement officer.

Michael Wayne Hillier.jpg
Michael Wayne Hillier

According to a criminal complaint:

One reporting party told the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office that she was on her way home from work on the evening of Feb. 8 when a man attempted to pull her over in an older Ford Crown Victoria. She said the car was coming at her, with red and white bar lights activated, and was "enough in the middle of the road where I couldn't get past him." The car also had a spotlight on the driver's side mirror.

The woman said she stopped and the other driver, a man in his mid- to late 60s with a slender build and gray hair, got out of the Crown Victoria. She said he "held something up in the air like it was a badge," but the woman did not roll her window down because her father had been a police officer for 30 years and she "knew this person was not legit."


The woman reported that the suspect continued to stare at her, so she opened her window slightly and he identified himself as "Colonel Hilner." The woman then left and went home, speaking with family members who said the same man had been trying to stop other people in the area.

A deputy found a vehicle matching the description nearby on Mink Road, executed a traffic stop and placed Hillier in custody without incident. The 2009 Crown Victoria had a mirror spotlight, antennas on the roof and aftermarket lights in the rear window.

The sheriff's office indicated it had received at least two other reports of a matching suspect and vehicle driving around the Cotton area and attempting to stop motorists.

Hillier does not have any apparent criminal history in Minnesota or Wisconsin. He was released from custody with pretrial supervision after making his initial court appearance.

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or
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