Greenfield officer rescues man from Green River

  • Purinton

Staff Writer
Published: 8/19/2019 5:04:01 PM

GREENFIELD — Officer Justin Purinton of the Greenfield Police Department saved a man’s life when he pulled him out of the Green River.

Purinton, Officer Patrick Merrigan and Sgt. Stephen Westerling were dispatched to the area of Deerfield and Meade streets on Saturday, Aug. 10, to investigate a report of suspicious activity involving two men who allegedly tried to take something from someone in a nearby vehicle, according to a post on the Greenfield Police Department’s Facebook page.

While searching the area, Purinton spotted a man fully submerged in the Green River and not moving. He immediately notified the other officers, requested medical help and jumped into the river, pulling the man to the shoreline, the post reads.

The man began coughing up large amounts of water, but was able to resume breathing on his own. He was transported to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield where he was treated and released.

Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr. said officers in the department “regularly perform and assist in heroic and lifesaving acts,” but are not always recognized.

“We do not always publicly recognize them when we should,” Haigh wrote in the Facebook post. “In this instance, Officer Purinton made keen observations and took swift and decisive actions while risking his own well-being. There is no doubt in my mind that he saved this individual’s life.

“This is one of the many things that makes being a police officer the best job in the world,” Haigh continued. “I thank and commend Officer Justin Purinton, and it is a privilege to know that he and the other members of our team are here for the safety and well-being of all in our community.”

Reach Melina Bourdeau at or 413-772-0261, ext. 263.

Greenfield Recorder

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Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
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