Seven new graduates of the Richmond Department of Emergency Communications’ 33rd Basic Dispatch Academy celebrate after a ceremony last Friday at the Richmond Police Training Academy. The new graduates are, from left, Stephanie Z. Franklin, Kyna Meadows, Joseph Kearns, Zakiya St. Dic, Woody Winborn, Safiyyah Muslima Bint Abdul Malik and Justin Fleming. They are flanked at left by Stephen M. Willoughby, director of the Department of Emergency Communications, and at right by Ortoria Hymons, the department’s acting training supervisor. The graduates began their training on Jan. 6 with classroom sessions on dispatch procedures, public safety terminology, handling difficult callers and active shooter situations and fires, and various policies and procedures. They practiced answering 911 emergency calls, rode along with Richmond Police officers and passed several tests to make it to graduation. Now they must complete hundreds of hours of on-the-job training before they can work independently taking 911 calls and dispatching help.