Skip to main content

Southern Students Questioned by Police While Canvassing Sign Up Officer for Studies


By Rosana Hughes

Samuel Cruz, sophomore theology major, and Casey Owens, freshman religious studies major, were on their first day of canvassing in East Ridge, Tennessee, when a couple drove by questioning who they were and why they were in the neighborhood.

Cruz and Owens explained they were Southern students working with the university’s SALT program (Soul-winning And Leadership Training), but the couple warned them that people in the neighborhood may find them suspicious and may call the police to report them.

“They told us we needed a permit to be down here, so I called the SALT program director to confirm,” Cruz said.

The director let them know they did not need a permit since they were not selling anything. As the students reached the last house, a police officer in an unmarked black Cadillac SUV arrived and asked to speak with them. He told Cruz and Owens that he received a report of two suspicious guys going through peoples’ backyards.

“We weren’t going through backyards,” Cruz said. “We tried to only walk on the street.” The students explained that they were canvasing the area and offering some free seminars and studies that the East Ridge Seventh-day Adventist Church was putting together. After hearing about what they were doing, the officer seemed interested in learning more.

“He signed up for some Bible studies so we gave him some literature on the spot,” Cruz said.
Owens believes God worked everything out for the best.

“It was a possibly bad situation turned into a great blessing,” he said.


-- This article was originally published in Southern’s student newspaper, The Accent.