DEXTER, Mo. -- If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then Sgt. Scott Rawson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol is flattered indeed. His son, 21-year-old Levi Rawson, is about to begin a walk in his father's footsteps.
The senior Rawson, a 15-year veteran of the patrol, serves Troop E as a criminal investigator and polygraph examiner. His patrol career began as a trooper in Stoddard County in 1993 following a stint in the U.S. Marines and six years as a police officer in Park Hills. He was promoted to corporal and assigned as the assistant zone commander of Stoddard County in 1996. In 1999, he transferred to the Division of Drug and Crime Control as a criminal investigator.
Rawson and his wife, Dena, have three grown boys. The oldest, Jeff, is a 2003 Dexter High School graduate, and Levi graduated two years later. The youngest, Bobby, will complete his local education at Dexter High in May.
"I never pushed any of my boys toward a career in the patrol," Scott Rawson said. "Levi just always had an interest in law enforcement."
For the Rawsons' middle son, who will begin his Missouri State Highway Patrol training at the Jefferson City-based training academy later this month, there was never any question regarding his career choice.
"When I was really small, I used to tell my parents that I wanted to be a 'fleeceman.' Even if I couldn't pronounce it, I knew that law enforcement was in my future," Levi said.
The process of entering the patrol began nearly two years ago for the younger Rawson when, as a college freshman at the age of 18, he submitted his application. Patrol regulations call for applicants to be 21 years old before the training process begins, but Levi was confident of the direction his life would take and took appropriate college classes that would further his knowledge within the area of law, majoring in criminology and studying judo and rifle marksmanship along the way. After the initial written test for the patrol was completed, the waiting game began.
"I passed the written and physical testing," he said, "and then waited for three months to take the psychological portion of the test and finally in December received the final offer of employment and was fortunate to be told that I'd be serving in Stoddard County."
Levi Rawson will report for training Monday in Jefferson City and six months later he will attain his lifetime goal. Once on the patrol force, the father and son team will be one of seven such pairs in the state of Missouri.
There never seemed to have been a choice involved in Levi's career decision.
"My dad has always been my hero," Levi said, "and the person I've always looked to for advice. I grew up seeing my dad come home after every workday, happy with his life and with his career, and that's the kind of person I wish to be."