BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections is welcoming 23 new probation and parole officers to the department.

The new officers took the oath of office Thursday during a swearing-in ceremony in Baton Rouge. They will be stationed in 13 of the 20 districts across the state covering areas including Alexandria, Amite, Baton Rouge, Covington, Feliciana, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Leesville, New Orleans, Shreveport and Ville Platte.

The academy began in August.

Department Secretary James M. LeBlanc says the new officers will be critical to supervising offenders and helping them successfully reintegrate into society.

The state's 611 probation and parole agents supervise more than 70,000 offenders.