JOPLIN, Mo. — Seven new police officers have joined the “Joplin Police Department”.

They recently finished the police academy, and are now taking part in an eight-week field training program.

They’re learning how to handle different types of calls, working with firearms, and other fieldwork.

Next, they’ll move on to a 16-week program, where they’ll hit the streets with established officers, getting that first-hand experience.

Officials with “JPD” say having these additional seven officers is a step in the right direction.

“These men and women we have here today are young, they’re eager to go out there and work, they’re eager to serve our community. I look forward to the success that they’re going to have in their careers. I look forward to them coming up through the ranks and doing their thing it’s exciting to watch them grow in that way,” said Sgt. Andy Blair, Joplin Police Department.

“I’ve lived here my entire life, I’ve been in the community my entire life so, being able to work for the community and help the community I’ve been in my entire life, help to protect to serve, just to help my community is amazing, it’s a great feeling,” said Officer Leevi Rauch, Joplin Police Department.

Eight more students will join the police academy in January.

They do say there are still eight to ten positions they need to fill.