NASHVILLE, TN (WRCB) -- Governor Bill Haslam joined the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security in welcoming 44 State Troopers to the Highway Patrol on Friday morning.  Trooper Cadet Class 512 took their oath of office in a graduation ceremony at Tulip Grove Baptist Church in Old Hickory.

Members of Cadet Class 512 have spent the past 18 weeks undergoing extensive law enforcement instruction at the department's Training Center.  The more than 890 hours of classroom training included criminal and constitutional law, patrol procedures, professional ethical conduct, crash investigation and firearms.  The new graduates will now advance to a maximum of 12 weeks of field training.    

"The Tennessee Highway Patrol Troopers' Creed says ‘Many are called, but few are chosen'," Gov. Haslam said. "Thousands applied after the announcement was made of a new trooper cadet class. The 44 cadets who are here with us this morning are those chosen few. You have firmly applied yourselves through 18 weeks of training and are now part of the elite group of law enforcement officers known as the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Congratulations."

The Trooper Cadet Class began on January 22, 2012 with 54 cadets.  The 44 graduating cadets include 19 with previous law enforcement experience and 16 former military members.  Two cadets are female.   

During their training, the Cadets participated in a blood drive for the American Red Cross and held a car wash, donating all proceeds to Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.). The cadets also ran in last weekend's Law Enforcement Memorial 5K hosted by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and several other state agencies.  They won the Law Enforcement Challenge competition, besting all of the other law enforcement agencies that participated.

"I am proud of these men and women and the commitment they have already made during their training to serve in the community," Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. "Tennessee State Troopers act as more than just law enforcement officers on our highways. They are servants of the people. I am honored to call the 44 before us today, the newest members of Tennessee's finest."