The Sykesville Town Council started its meeting Tuesday night with a dedication for Millard Cooper, a man whose contributions to the town included a tenure as police chief but didn’t end there.
Sykesville’s current chief of police, Michael Spaulding, found some old items of the late police chief while going through a closet in the police station and thought there would be a better place for them to honor Cooper’s memory.
In the closet, Spaulding found Cooper’s old uniform, with its patch, name plate, whistle and badge.
“I thought it was very sad that someone that was so important to the town has his dress uniform hanging in the closet. So, I took it upon myself to make it a project,” Spaulding said. “I wanted one day to be able to display these belongings of this very important man that paved the way for me to be here today.”
Cooper, for whom Millard Cooper Park in Sykesville is named, served as chief of police before retiring and later passing away in 1980.
According to Patti Meyer, daughter of Cooper, her dad was not one for dedications like this but still would’ve enjoyed it.
“He wasn’t much for recognition. He just went to work and did his job,” Meyer said. “But he would be very happy.”
Spaulding enlisted help from Bryant Brambeck of Eldersburg-based Liberty Emblem Company and David Heck, a town resident and retired Howard County sheriff, to come together and make a shadow box in which they could leave a piece of Cooper’s legacy on display at the police station.
“Through the gracious donation of Bryant Brambeck, he put this together with Dave’s help. Dave was actually the one that was to fix the badge; we found that the middle part of the badge, which was the Maryland seal, we were able to fix it,” Spaulding said. “Bryant did a phenomenal job with the shadow box.”
According to Spaulding, Sykesville police back then wore patches of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and they couldn’t find a replacement for Cooper’s damaged patch, so Brambeck reproduced the original patch for the shadowbox.
“I know this is going to permanently be hung up in the department for everyone to come through that police department and see,” Spaulding said, “to pay tribute to a person that I think did a phenomenal job.”
According to Spaulding, Cooper did a variety of jobs in town aside from his duties as chief of police.
“My God, the guy was chief of police, the sanitation supervisor, mechanic, snow plow driver,” he said. “I don’t know how he did it, but he was a phenomenal man, really helped create the Sykesville Police Department and make it what it is today. I think he deserves a lot of credit.”
Cooper’s family was thankful for the shadow box honoring him.
“It’s wonderful. Sykesville was his life,” Meyer said. “Everything he did for the town, he did it all. Whenever he was needed, he was there."
Meyer’s twin daughters, Stephanie Meyer-McClaung and Leslie Delach, remember the love their grandfather received through town, and they were were grateful for the dedication to his memory.
“It means a lot; we remember growing up, all the work that he was doing and stuff and how much everybody loved him. Everyone also said hi and they’re always like ‘Those are the Cooper twins,' so everybody knew us by him," Meyer-McClaung said.
Delach remembered not only the love he got from the town, but the love he put in it.