Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 1, 2013

Shamrock leaves a solid foundation with Falls police

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "I decided my true desire was to be in narcotics, so I transferred there," he said.

He arrived at a time when the crack cocaine epidemic in the city was rampant. At that time, the Narcotics Division tended to get involved only in major undercover investigations.

"We didn't worry about quality of life issues," Shamrock said. "We just concentrated on major dealers. We'd go up on (wiretaps) and do long-term cases."

But as city's drug problem became worse, Shamrock shifted the focus for his detectives and officers.

"You still want to get the big players," he said. "But people in the neighborhoods that are affected can't wait for those long-term investigations. They need relief now."

Shamrock said the cost of long-term investigations has also reached a point where local police agencies are hard pressed to do them without help from well-funded federal law enforcement agencies.

"We used to run our own wires," he said. "When I was with the task force, Beilein used go up on the phone poles himself and set the traps. Now the technology is so sophisticated you can't do it yourself."

Another change that Shamrock says has occurred on his watch is the ever-escalating violence on the streets.

"The OGs (Original Gangsters) of the past, they ran the streets with just their hands. If you messed up you got a beating," he said. "There were no drive-by shootings, spraying bullets in every direction, shooting like they do in the movies. You hurt their feelings, they go get a gun. There's no standards now."

Shamrock said there was also a grudging respect for law enforcement.

"They knew we had a job to do," he said. "But now, they just hate you."

As he left his office for the last time on Friday, Shamrock also left his raid jacket hanging on a coat tree and his ballistic vest slung over a chair. It's been a reminder for his detectives and officers.

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