The Knoxville Police Department welcomed its newest class of officers Thursday evening.

Thirty-one police officers joined the force at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium. They finished 26 weeks of training and join a force of more than 400 officers.

It's the first class Police Chief David Rausch picked himself. He says they stand out for their diversity.

"You know a lot of experience and background with these people, so we're excited. It's really a great day for Knoxville. To have this number of officers, new officers to get out in our community and keep us safe," he said.

Rausch says this class features 12 military vets, six of which served in the war.

The new officers will serve for 17 weeks with senior officers and then they will be cleared to work alone.