Milledgeville officer overcomes obstacles, goes above and beyond for city's youth
MACON, Ga. -- To protect and serve is a motto often associated with police, but for one Milledgeville officer, that statement comes with a fair share of obstacles in a field that hasn't always been kind to women.
Lieutenant Marquita Driskell is used to overcoming obstacles. She was a star basketball player for the Baldwin Bravettes and with the University of Georgia before returning to Milledgeville to play at Georgia College.
"Being a female student athlete, you sometimes get that backlash of, 'You're a girl, so you can't do certain things.' And in law enforcement you fall into that same realm, and we can do anything we wanna do," said Driskell.
The moment that changed everything was when a Milledgeville police officer came to speak to her high school team. Driskell knew then where her career was headed.
"I remember listening to her thinking, 'I can do that, and I wanna do that.' And I remember telling her that I'm going to do that. 'I'm going to take your job,' is what I said," she said.
That same officer now working side by side with officer Driskell, years later.
"Being a male-dominated field, it's hard coming into it as a woman. And I'm pretty verbal, I'm not real timid, I'm pretty aggressive. And that can rub men the wrong way sometimes. No offense men, but it pretty much was the same as it was in college so it wasn't unfamiliar for me," she said.
Now her calling has come full circle, helping the next generation fulfill their own dreams.
"I meet them where they are, I play ball with them, I eat popsicles and ice cream with them. I just talk to them, because they're human beings, because that's what they are. They need to know that I'm no different from them," Driskell said.
"She's a good mentor. She comes in and helps from time to time, and she's a good person to look up to," said Crystal Corley.
"The girls, they just love it. Every time they see her, it's like a celebrity walks into the gym and they're like 'Oh its Marquita,' and just to see her and know what she's done for the community and where she's been, the girls really really appreciate it and it has a positive effect on the girls," said coach Yuri Haynes.
Lt. Driskell has conquered obstacles in athletics and in law enforcement. Now protecting and serving her community, she's passing the baton to the next generation -- and she wouldn't have it any other way.
"Just trying to keep today's youth motivated. If I can look at them and they accomplish their goals, whatever they might be, big or small, that is enough for me. I wouldn't trade it, any downfall, any up. I wouldn't trade it," she said.