JCDS shreds documents to protect privacy

The Best Times Digital Edition

August 19, 2021

By Melissa Reeves

Identity theft is a problem facing millions of Americans every year, and while online identity theft is increasing, thieves aren’t just looking for your information online.

Sergeant Robert Huff works for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and has been working identity theft cases in law enforcement for 19 years.

“Thieves will go to any measure to get your information,” Huff said, adding this includes going through your mailbox or digging in your trash.

“You never know who’s going to go through your stuff, so you want to shred everything you can. Anything that has a paper trail of any passwords, any account numbers, your name, your date of birth, your social – anything. You want to make sure you shred those documents instead of just throwing them in the trash.”

According to Huff, individuals and families should own a personal shredder to ensure private information does not end up in the wrong hands. However, for businesses and families that handle a large volume of documents, finding a secure shredding service can make all the difference.

Johnson County Developmental Supports (JCDS) is an organization within county government that provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Many services provided center on creating opportunities for the individuals to work and earn a paycheck, either through competitive employment or onsite employment.

One such opportunity is document destruction, which is a secure and confidential shredding service operating at the Elmore Center in Lenexa.

The program began in 2010 after a donation from William T. Kemper Foundation to Friends of JCDS was used to purchase the equipment. The program grew from there and now accepts residential walk-ins and does business pickups. They use assistive technology to help individuals with limited mobility work.

About 10 people who receive services from JCDS work in document destruction each year. As the program grows, more individuals are joining the team.

Tracy Smith is the facilitator and says the benefits of document destruction extend beyond preventing identity theft. “It’s giving individuals [with disabilities] an opportunity to work who more likely than not wouldn’t be able to,” she said. “It’s great that we can be another resource for people to find a place to shred.”

The shredded paper is recycled and used to build notebooks, fire logs and other assorted items. You can learn more, and request a price quote online.

Melissa Reeves is community relations manager at JCDS.