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Spotlight Iowa City: Keeping busy never a problem

BY MARLEEN LINARES | NOVEMBER 03, 2009 7:20 AM

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Nancy Sereduck rarely stops.

On one Thursday afternoon, the Emergency Communications Center supervisor scanned computer monitors, radioing officers, and fielded 911 calls. She’s that person who constantly helps.

From advising the person who thinks a friend may have overdosed to sending backup to reunite children with their grandfather, Sereduck started as a dispatcher at the Iowa City police 33 years ago, taking her current supervisor position in the ’80s.

“I really love my job,” Sereduck said, checking the many lights on her computer screen, ensuring a police officer wasn’t calling in.

“I know all the facets. I can do everything,” she said confidently.

“I may be one of the 10 percent of people who really loves their job the whole time. It’s never the same.”

Working 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, Sereduck is in charge of around a dozen dispatchers, coordinating schedules, leading training, and helping answer a string of 24,000 911 calls every year.

The public-service aspect is what really entices her.

“It’s not all about me,” said Sereduck, a petite, short-haired woman who describes herself as “60 years young.” “It’s about how well we give the public our service. There are expectations the public has, and I keep myself and my team to those standards.”

And maintaining such standards can prove rewarding.



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She recalled a “really cool” moment when she helped a woman deliver a baby over the phone in the late-90s.

With three kids upstairs and waiting for her husband, the woman needed someone to talk to as her contractions came more and more closely.

Sereduck advised her to lie down — and just in time.

“The husband got there right before the Fire Department and caught the baby,” she said, excitement evident in her voice. “It was awesome.”

Situations like this require calm — something Iowa City police Lt. Dan Sellers, a day watch commander, said she always has during emergencies.

“She doesn’t get rattled at all,” Sellers said. “She’s very calm and controlled.”

She is also easy to work with, said Capt. Rick Wyss, her supervisor.

“She is very dedicated and active while being easygoing as well,” he said.

But dispatching wasn’t originally the New York native’s life goal.

Graduating from California State University-Northridge, Sereduck moved to Iowa City in 1976, taking graduate classes in library science at the UI and picking up the phones as a dispatcher to make some money.

Now she trades in her crackling radio and blinking phone for books and a little bit of quiet volunteering at the Iowa City Public Library a couple times a week.

Regardless of where she is, her witty and spunky personality shines through.

“She is a joy to be around,” said Terri Byers, the library’s circulation department volunteer supervisor. “She’s always up and friendly. She’s much more than a volunteer to us.”

Outside of work and volunteering, Sereduck gardens minimally, exercises avidly, attends Parkview Evangelical Free Church, and loves cooking stews and Williamsburg orange cake.

And she isn’t slowing down any time soon.

“I’m not done,” she said. “What is important to me is other people so I’m going to do that as long as I can.”


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