Madison Wethington knew what she wanted. And she never wavered.
With her Oct. 2 graduation from the city’s Motor Unit training program, police officer Wethington is Maryville’s first female alum of the program and the newest member of its eight-person traffic motor team.
It was a dream she harbored since first starting her career in law enforcement. Now, it’s a dream fulfilled.
“From Day 1 of the academy, I had this goal and dream of being on a traffic unit: getting to ride the motorcycle, getting to show females and just girls out there that they can do what they put their mind to and that they should be empowered and confident in what they dream to,” Wethington told The Daily Times.
Institute of Police Technology and Management-certified instructors teach the intensive two-week motorcycle training program, which instructs officers on riding motorcycles in a more specific way than general riding and includes a “rigorous” training course, a press release states.
“This is a very intense and difficult process and tests the ability to function in high stress situations. Very few are cut out to be certified as a motor officer,” Maryville Police and Fire Chief Tony Crisp said in the release. “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 showed us she had what it takes and that she wasn’t going to take no for an answer. She had a goal and she worked very hard to achieve it. I’m extremely proud of her and know she will be an example to other young women who want to grow up and follow in her footsteps,” Crisp said.
Officers interested in joining the traffic unit must hold a motorcycle license and complete four hours of additional training with other local agencies each month following their graduations from the program.
Every member of the traffic unit must learn to ride a motorcycle.
“Being on the motorcycle is a very important and necessary skill to have on the traffic unit,” Wethington said, “because it allows us to be able to efficiently and effectively be able to take care of all the tasks that are related to the roadway.”
Wethington first joined the Maryville Police Department full time in June 2019. She said she felt God calling her to law enforcement, loves the community and wants to give back and do her part to make a bigger difference.
That difference was personified in the pin she was presented upon graduation: wings, the insignia for the motor unit.
“I put my heart, mind, soul, everything I had into that training,” Wethington said. “And to be able to pass and be pinned with the wings ... it just feels like a very proud accomplishment for me.”
For Wethington, it’s important for kids to look up to her in a “torn-apart world” and see her, a female law enforcement officer on a motorcycle. It shows them that they, too, can accomplish what seems impossible if they put their minds to it.
After all, she is the example.
“It is really cool now to just see all of those big dreams really coming to life,” Wethington said. “And just the opportunities that I have are just starting because I’m just now on this traffic unit.
“I’m so excited to see what the future holds with me and the department.”