NEW YORK (PIX11)—Three days after breaking the story on highly classified police documents ending up as confetti in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, PIX11 News has learned that the classified confetti came from a police employee who had attended the parade as a spectator.
Sources close to the investigation into the incident told PIX11 News that an employee of the Nassau County Police Department was watching the parade near 65th Street and Central Park West, along the parade route. He had brought shredded NCPD documents with him for his family and friends to use as confetti, and use them they did.
The police documents were among many other shredded papers that the employee and the people who'd accompanied him to the parade used as confetti, according to police sources.
Some of that confetti ended up landing on Ethan Finkelstein, 18, of Manhattan, who noticed that one strand listed a social security number and name. He and a group of his friends who were watching the parade in the same area as the police employee who had brought the classified confetti then decided to gather up handfuls of it.
Finkelstein contacted PIX11 News Thursday evening to discuss the find. A PIX11 News investigation quickly concluded that the highly sensitive personal information belonged to Nassau County detectives and other NCPD personnel.
"There are phone numbers, addresses, more social security numbers, license plate numbers," Finkelstein told PIX11 News last Friday. "And then we find all these incident reports from police."
One confetti strip indicated that it's from an arrest record, and other strips offer more detail. "This is really shocking," Finkelstein said, holding up a strip. "It says, 'At 4:30 A.M. a pipe bomb was thrown at a house in the Kings Grant' area."
Sources on Monday would not give the name of the police employee who generated the confidential confetti, but they did indicate the highly sensitive documents came from the Nassau County Police Academy.
Neither the police officers' union nor the detectives' union in Nassau County would comment for this story, but PIX11 has learned that the NCPD will provide identity protection services for every officer whose name was listed in the shredded documents. Investigators from the department's internal affairs division removed the confetti shreds from the Finkelsteins' home with the family's permission.
The department is also reviewing its document disposal procedures, and is even considering acquiring cross shredding machines for every police unit. Cross shredders shred paper horizontally as well as vertically, which results in small, shredded squares of paper, rather than long strands.
PIX11 News has also learned that Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale is now deciding whether or not to take disciplinary action against the employee.