Family members ensure fallen Allegheny County officers not forgotten
By Bobby Kerlik| Saturday, May 3, 2014, 5:48 p.m.
If Penn Hills police Officer Michael Crawshaw, an avid outdoorsman, had been alive on Saturday, he probably would have been heading to a family camp with his father and brother.
“Mike will be gone five years on Dec. 6. I wish I could tell you the pain gets less, but it doesn't,” said his mother, Linda Crawshaw, 62, of Shaler at the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial ceremony. “Not that you don't think of Mike every day, every minute of the day some days, but it's just, everything comes rushing back (during the ceremony).”
More than 60 people gathered on the North Shore in front of the police memorial monument near Heinz Field for the annual Law Enforcement Officers Memorial ceremony. Family members of several officers killed in the line of duty, including Pittsburgh police Officers Eric G. Kelly, Stephen J. Mayhle and Paul J. Sciullo II, listened as speakers read their loved ones' names among a long list of Allegheny County officers.
Kelly probably would have been cutting the grass at his mother's house or spending time with his daughters or sister, said his mother, Frances Kelly.
“I'm here to honor my son and keep his memory alive and to remind people how tragic it is — that people think they can take a life and nothing will happen to them,” said Frances Kelly, 65, of the West End, wiping tears from her eyes. “I miss him every day — whether its looking at his picture at my house or (missing) him bringing his family over. He used to stop over all the time.
“It's all the little things. You never realize the little stuff until they're gone.”
Many family members carried white flowers to the memorial while their officer's name was read, including Mayhle's two young daughters accompanied by his parents, and Sciullo's parents.
“We would have been out playing golf today,” said Sciullo's father, Max Sciullo of Bloomfield. “Everybody sees police in blue but they don't know they're family too — they're husbands, they're wives, brothers, sisters, they're sons and daughters.”
Common Pleas Judge Mark V. Tranquilli, a former prosecutor who headed the county's homicide unit, was the main speaker. He told the families that nobody really knows what they've gone through except other families in the same situation.
Tranquilli won convictions against Richard Poplawski, who gunned down Kelly, Mayhle and Sciullo on April 4, 2009; Ronald Robinson, who gunned down Crawshaw on Dec. 6, 2009; and Leslie Mollett, who gunned down state police Cpl. Joseph Pokorny on Dec. 12, 2005.
“One of the things that got me through (the trials) was the thought of the families. I knew we had to get some measure of justice,” Tranquilli told the families. “Remember that your departed was different. Their lives did not simply end. They were given so others could live. The officers we know did not merely lose their lives. They sacrificed them.”
Cmdr. Donna Best, of the Allegheny County Sheriff's office, said 12 new names will be added to the memorial this year, of officers killed in the line of duty as far back as 1853 who were not already on the memorial.
Rocco, a Pittsburgh police canine officer, was the only officer to be killed in Allegheny County in the last 12 months. Best said police are hoping to raise $50,000 to add a canine memorial.
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.