Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 1, 2013

Shamrock leaves a solid foundation with Falls police


Niagara Gazette — Police work, though, was in his blood. He looked first at his hometown police department, but the civil service waiting list there was a long one.

His cousin was a member of the Falls police force and he encouraged Shamrock to take the civil service exam here. He was appointed to the Falls force in August 1969.

Shamrock started his career working in patrol on some of the toughest beats in the city.

"Being from Buffalo I kind of got what were not always the best beats," he said with a chuckle. "But I was told it was they were good places of a young officer to get experience."

Years later, when he briefly returned to patrol duty, he was assigned to the same beats.

"This time," he said, shaking his head, "they told me those beats needed an experienced officer."

In between those patrol tours, Shamrock was plucked by another of his mentors, Capt. Keith Mills, to work in what was then known as the Confidential Unit, the predecessor to the narcotics squad. There he partnered up with the department's future chief of detectives, John Soltys, and future superintendent, John Chella.

"Mills was the guy I always tried to copy as a supervisor," Shamrock said.

When the Niagara County Drug Task Force was formed, Shamrock shipped out there and partnered with legendary drug Investigator Jimmy Hall. He also served with the county's future sheriff, Tom Beilein and future undersheriff, Sam Muscarella.

When he returned to the Falls, he began moving up the ranks to patrol lieutenant and detective under Police Superintendents Tom Zwelling and James Galie.

"You have to understand," Shamrock said, "everyone of these guys had an effect on my career."

By 1998, Shamrock was a captain and the department's Chief of Detectives. A year later he headed over to the Narcotics Division. 

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