PARAMUS, N.J. — It was an ordinary Friday afternoon for two senior parole officers while cruising down Route 4 eastbound — until they took sight of a horrific scene.
While traveling on Spring Valley Road in Paramus this afternoon, officers Jalen Harper and Steven Purciello of the New Jersey State Parole Board noticed a Volkswagen SUV flipped over on its side in the street following a car accident that resulted in “tremendous damage” and a woman still trapped inside. Upon witnessing fluid leaking from the vehicle, which the officers believe had potential to cause an explosion, Harper and Purciello acted quickly. They broke the windshield and pulled the driver out with assistance from motorists who stopped to help them.
“For us, it was about getting the woman out of the vehicle and to a safe place,” stated Harper in a press release from the New Jersey State Parole Board. “Fortunately, she did not have any visible injuries, and that’s what is most important.”
“It was instinctual,” added Purciello. “We knew we had to do something, and that’s why we rushed to the car. We ensured that she was safe and calm."
New Jersey State Parole Board Chairman Samuel J. Plumeri, Jr. explained that the duo’s heroic actions are attributed to the fact that parole officers work around the clock and keep a watchful eye out while on the road at all times.
“Those in law enforcement do not merely work in shifts,” stated Plumeri. “Many, like officers Harper and Purciello, remain focused at all times which is evidenced by their heroic act."
Plumeri thanked the officers for their dedication, professionalism and courage.
According to a news release from the Board, nearly 400 sworn parole officers supervise over 15,500 offenders. The agency’s Community Programs Unit partners with various agencies including government, not-for-profit and private to link former inmates with vocational, mental health and addiction services, among others.