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"Shred Day" Draws Long Lines

The line of people ready to shred their secrets stretched around the block Saturday. The Police Explorers Post 279 took in hundreds of boxes of old files, from residents paying $10 per box to get rid of their old records.

The event was a fundraiser for the Explorers, which is a part of the Boy Scouts of America’s “Learning for Life” program. Secure Eco Shred of Brookfield, CT, offered their services at a discount, only charging the Police Explorers $350 to cover their fuel costs and the driver’s wages. Post 279 raised enough money to send 10 of its members to the Explorer Academy this summer. There Police Explorers from the six New England states will gather at the University of Hartford’s campus for a week-long simulation of police academy training.

Cars began lining up in the Fire Station’s parking lot around 8 a.m. An hour later, when Secure shredding started, as many as 40 cars were waiting.  For much of the morning the line stretched around the block. When asked how many boxes were taken in total, Detective Belinda Papageorge, a Police Explorers alum and advisor, said “I have no idea. It’s been non-stop all day.”

The Fairfield Branch of the Police Explorers was founded in 1975. Although sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America, the group is for any 14- to 21-year-olds of both sexes who have an interest in law enforcement.  The students participate in volunteer activities with members of the police.

Aside from the fundraiser, members of the group were at two other events throughout the town Saturday. Some took fingerprints at the pier, as they do every weekend. Others helped with security at the Rotary Club’s AMBER alert registration at the Fairfield Historical Museum.

Sgt. Greg Gunter entered the program at age 14, and joined the Fairfield Police Department when he graduated at 21. He is now an advisor to the group. “Even if a kid gets into the Police Explorers and doesn’t go into law enforcement, [the program] is successful,” Gunter said. “And if they do go into law enforcement, that’s successful, too. It’s win-win.”

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