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KNOXVILLE — Two University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students were walking home from the library late one evening when they saw a woman and young man struggling for her purse.

Scott Boughton and Ryan Copeland heard the victim, a female UT student, scream and ran to her aid. They corralled the young would-be purse snatcher and another suspect and held them until police arrived.

The University of Tennessee Police Department honored Boughton and Copeland today for their actions on Oct. 3. Chief August Washington presented the students with “Service to Law Enforcement Award” plaques for helping apprehend the suspects.

Washington said the students’ actions were good examples of the UTPD’s motto “Enforcement Through Cooperation.”

“Rather than turning the other way, they decided to get involved. We are thankful they stepped up because it could have been difficult for police to later find the suspects,” Washington said.

The chief said UTPD does not suggest everybody get physically involved in fighting crime, and often it is just as helpful to inform police about suspicious-looking people on campus.

Boughton and Copeland, both juniors, said they were surprised by all the recognition.

“We definitely didn’t think we deserved anything like this,” Boughton said.

Boughton is from Alpharetta, Ga., and Copeland is from Knoxville.

The incident happened along 16th Street near the Panhellenic Building. Because both suspects are juveniles, their names have not been released.


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179, elizabeth.davis@tennessee.edu

Capt. Keith Lambert, UTPD, (865) 974-3114, klambert@utk.edu