MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Madison Wethington was working as a preschool teacher when she felt pulled in another direction — the police force.
"God had laid law enforcement on my heart," Wethington said. "At first, it was in support and appreciation. I kept doing things in my off time to give back to law enforcement, but there's only so much you can do to support them from the sidelines."
Instead of continuing to help law enforcement from the sidelines, she decided to apply for the police academy and work with them, hands-on.
"Transitioning to law enforcement, I definitely had that heart of being an inspiration for girls to know that they can grow up and do what they put their mind to," Wethington said.
Her students encouraged her as she explained the career change she was about to make, and on her first day at the police academy, Wethington set her sights on a position that no other woman in the county had held before — a traffic motor officer.
"I got my motorcycle license and went through intense training," Wethington said. "I had a desire to learn more about working wrecks and doing things that are part of the roadway. I think the math behind it is fascinating."
After rigorous training, Wethington became the first woman to graduate from Maryville's Motor Unit training program on Friday, Oct. 2.
“This is a very intense and difficult process and tests the ability to function in high-stress situations," Police Chief Tony Crisp said. "Very few are cut out to be certified as a motor officer. With her level-headed demeanor, abilities, determination and work ethic, Officer Wethington happens to be the first female to do so in the history of our department.”
Wethington has been with the department since January 2019.