Seth Meeske grew up in the world of the Department of Public Safety, and he did a lot of that growing up in Payson.
Meeske's father, Ernie retired after more than 20 years of service with the DPS. When he retired, he was with the Payson office.
The younger Meeske graduated from Payson High School, then on Feb. 22, 1999 entered the academy, becoming a sworn officer on June 18, 1999.
Meeske's first assignment was as a Highway Patrol Officer in Tonto Basin office of DPS and that is still his post.
"I'd like to stay in the area," Meeske said.
He patrols 135 miles of roads in southern Gila County, and was recently honored for his work by Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores.
Flores' office recognizes a member of the law enforcement community four times a year. The recognition is for superior service in the prosecution of criminal matters.
"I felt very good about the award. It's nice to know people respect how you're doing your job and to have the positive reinforcement is always nice," Meeske said.
"Meeske was honored for his professionalism and dedication to law enforcement and the citizens of Gila County. Officer Meeske has received accolades from law enforcement and citizens alike for his service and courteous manner. Many attorneys that work with him say he is available, prepared and well informed in court. He is among the top of his district in arrests for DUIs, felony DUIs and more," Flores wrote in a release about the award.
Meeske works with a five-man squad in Tonto Basin. His patrol route includes Highway 288 to Young; Highway 88, or the Apache Trail, to Tortilla Flat; all of Highway 188 from Globe to Highway 87; and Highway 87 between Rye and Sunflower.
"It's a lot of territory, especially if you're working it alone. Normally though we have two people on it," he said.
The gas truck explosion on Highway 87 in May is the worst accident he has seen on the road, he said.
As for the most rewarding and challenging aspects of his job, Meeske said, "The best part of the job is the people we're able to help. The toughest part is one percent -- 99 percent of the people we deal with are really good people."
One thing he has not had to do yet is deliver a baby on the road, though he and his wife are expecting a baby in August.
"I work with a fantastic family in law enforcement. They're a real good bunch of people," Meeske said.
In addition to his patrol duties, Meeske is trained to serve with a riot response team and is a certified radar instructor. He is working on his certification to become a field training officer as well.
Asked what he would say to encourage today's high school graduates about a career in law enforcement, Meeske said, "If you're good with people and have good people skills law enforcement is probably one of the most rewarding things you can do."
Name: Seth Meeske
Occupation: Highway Patrolman
Employer: Department of Public Safety
Birthplace: Sells, Ariz.
Family: Wife, Karen, two children, with third due in August, and parents in Payson.
Personal motto: Courteous vigilance, which is also the DPS motto.
Inspiration: "My father, Ernie."
Greatest feat: My family, "I'm pretty proud of them."
My favorite hobby or leisure activity is hunting, fishing or any outdoor activity.
The three words that describe me best are ... "Polite ... That's a hard one, I don't know how to answer that, my wife probably could."
I don't want to brag, but we have a real close-knit family.
Luxury defined: Relaxing in the outdoors.
Dream vacation spot: Durango, Colo.
Why Payson (Gila County)? "I've always been a small town person. Small towns produce really nice people and I enjoy the people in the area."