Surrounded by family, colleagues and friends, Joplin police Chief Sloan Rowland (center) talks about the impact the late Cpl. Ben Cooper had on their lives on Tuesday, which would have been Cooper’s 47th birthday. Mayor Doug Lawson had signed a proclamation in April designating July 26 as Cpl. Ben Cooper Day in his honor, and flags in front of the Joplin Police Department were flown at half-staff. Cooper, who had been with the department since 2003, was fatally shot in the line of duty while responding to a disturbance call March 8. Officer Jake Reed was also killed, and Officer Rick Hirshey was wounded. Hirshey has since recovered. GLOBE | KIMBERLY BARKER