Families of slain officers push for relocation of Penn Hills police memorial
Several residents are pushing for Penn Hills council to move its police memorial to the new municipal complex when it opens along Duff Road this summer, which is not part of the plan.
The municipality plans to replace its municipal building on Frankstown Road — where the police statue featuring a kneeling officer sits — with what is being called the Penn Hills Town Square Memorial. The site would include the police and veterans memorials there now, as well as walking paths and a pavilion.
The municipality is seeking a $250,000 grant for the project from Allegheny County.
The plan is not sitting well with several residents — including a relative of one of the slain officers that sparked erection of the memorial in the 1970s. About 20 people — some of them family members of Officer Michael Crawshaw, who was killed on duty in 2009 — were at a recent council meeting to support an impassioned plea asking that the memorial be moved to the new complex.
“The police memorial needs to go to the building where the police are,” Joanne Alexander told council.
Alexander is the daughter of William Schrott, the patrolman who was shot and killed along with Officer Bartley Connolly Jr. while on duty in May 1972.
Penn Hills officials said they considered two locations for the memorials at the new complex but ruled them out because they were not prominent enough. Mayor Sara Kuhn said council did not want to diminish the importance of the memorial by moving it somewhere where it would have less visibility for people driving or walking by. But Kuhn and Councilman Gary Underwood said they support the families who want the memorial moved and will work to see if granting their wish is possible.
“My father was a city policeman,” Underwood said as he stood and saluted Alexander and the other residents. “I will stand with you.”
The other three council members also supported the families' wishes.
Penn Hills Manager Mohammad Rayan told the residents the statue could not be put in front of the new municipal building because it would interfere with underground piping.
But Alexander wasn't discouraged. She said she expects soon to meet with Rayan and the project's engineering firm to determine where the memorial might fit in on the grounds of the $12.3 million municipal complex.
“The mayor herself wants to take whatever steps necessary. If that spot won't work, we'll find a location that is acceptable,” Alexander said.