Things were on a real tear last Saturday at Fairfield police headquarters, where 10,500 pounds of outdated and unwanted documents or records from the public were destroyed during a three-hour program dubbed, "Shred Day."

In addition to freeing up space at home, shredding personal papers also lessens vulnerability for identity theft, said police Lt. Jim Perez, whose department hosted Shred Day.

"That's 10,500 pounds of valuable information that will never get into the hands of a criminal," Perez said.

All documents were shredded by equipment brought to police headquarters. The paper collected equates to approximately 120 red wood-size trees, said police spokesman Sgt. Suzanne Lussier.

"It was a great success and many people showed up," she said. "They kept a steady flow of cars the entire time."

"I think people are getting it," Perez said. "They are now beginning to understand the importance of shredding documents ... In the old days, people would want electronics, jewelry, a VCR. But now, in the cyber-age, with technology being so advanced, and so simply available, if they get your personal information, they can replicate a credit card, open up gas or electric accounts and victimize you far worse than stealing one or two items from your home or cash from your pocket."

The cost of shredding was $10 per banker- or copy-paper size box of documents. Funds raised from the event will benefit the Fairfield Explorer Post 279, which is sponsored by the Fairfield Police Department. The Explorers post, a Boy Scouts program, offers young men and women ages 13 to 22 exposure to career choices available in law.

Detective Belinda Papageorge, an adviser to the Explorer program, said Brookfield-based Secure Eco Shred donated its truck. By the end of Shred Day, the box truck was filled with documents just short of capacity.

"We had some people that wanted to give us extra money because they were so happy to get rid of their stuff, and they knew it was fund-raiser," she said.

This was the second time this year the Police Department hosted a shred day. The first one took place in April. The next one will take place on Saturday, April 9, 2011.

"It's a fundraiser for the youth program, but it's also a community service," said Papageorge. "Because many people have an immense amount of documents that need to be shredded and a home shredder, which does five pages at a time, just won't cut it."