Former preschool teacher thriving as Maryville Police officer

Behind the Badge

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Maryville Police officer Madison Wethington has taken an unusual road to becoming a law enforcement officer.

Wethington, a California native, has called East Tennessee home for the last five years. The first three as a preschool teacher. The last two as a member of the Maryville Police Department.

“God put on my heart to go into law enforcement. I was a teacher before it, and while I was teaching preschool, he just laid it on my heart to go and serve the community in a different way,” Wethington said. “I felt that draw for a couple of years before I took that step out there and decided to put everything in and switch over to law enforcement.”

Needless to say, Wethington has never looked back. As a matter of fact, this October the Maryville officer accomplished something no other woman had ever done before. She became an official member of the MPD Motor Unit.

“It’s from Day 1 of going through the academy. I have this drawn desire to be in the motor unit and get to ride a motorcycle,” she said. “There is nothing like being on a motorcycle and getting to ride around and do this job. It’s is incredible!”

An incredible feeling as well as an incredible accomplishment that did not come easy.  

“Being in law enforcement you have to have the strength and mental capacity to do it, but on top of that, to operate a motorcycle is a very rigorous, very mentally, and physically challenging task,” Wethington said. “I really hope that I can encourage other girls out there to put their minds to anything they want to achieve and know that it’s going to take work. It’s not going to be easy necessarily but if you put your mind to it you can do whatever you want to do. The sky is the limit.” 

So, how does someone make the switch from teaching to patrolling Maryville’s city streets? Oddly enough, there is a correlation. 

“I, through my career being a preschool teacher, learned so much about patience with the kids. You know, when someone is having a bad day that’s when they call us,” Wethington said. “They don’t call us when they’re having a good day. So when they are having a bad day and struggling, then I’m there having patience and working through their problems with them and showing them that compassion and patience.”


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