Kaplan Dedicates Training Lab To 3 Slain Pittsburgh Police Officers

Kaplan Career Institute on Wednesday dedicated three renovated training labs to three Pittsburgh police officers killed four years ago today in a Stanton Heights ambush.

"We will always remember," said the Downtown school's president, Hunter Hopkins, after officials unveiled plaques for the firearms training lab, forensics lab and mock courtroom.

The firearms room was named for Eric Kelly, the forensics lab for Stephen Mayhle and the courtroom for Paul Sciullo.

The three were killed by Richard Poplawski on April 4, 2009.

Each of the officers' families received a plaque and flowers during the quiet dedication, which also was attended by Pittsburgh police brass and the media.

The classrooms are used to give Kaplan students, who are studying for associate degrees, an introduction to the criminal justice system from crime scene to courtroom.

The firearms training room is similar to others used by law enforcement in that it features a big video screen that can display thousands of scenarios to which a student armed with a special gun must react.

The forensics lab is used to teach students how to investigate a crime scene.

For Wednesday's event, forensics instructor Jim Wagner, a former Las Vegas police officer, worked with students to arrange the forensics room to mimic the death scene of Marilyn Monroe, who was found dead in her Brentwood, Calif., home on Aug. 5, 1962. A mannequin in a blond wig lay under the sheets in a bed, a phone in her hand and 1960s-era magazines on the floor near her nightstand. Crime-scene tape surrounded the bed.

Mr. Wagner said he and the students arranged the mock-up based on photos and FBI reports found online.

The idea of the lab, he said, is to instruct students in how police conduct forensic examinations and process evidence, but for the display he left it up to them to pick a famous death.

"They chose Marilyn Monroe," he said.

Her death was ruled a "probable suicide." But Mr. Wagner, like many others over the years, believes she was murdered.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE

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