CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Charleston’s first and only black police chief, Reuben Greenberg, who came to national attention for his pugnacious and charismatic ability to beat crime, has died at 71.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reported Sept. 25 that Greenberg died in a Charleston assisted living facility where he had been living for several years. He retired in 2005.

In a statement, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley praised Greenberg’s 23 years of modernizing the police and making the city safer. Riley called Greenberg a historic figure who demanded quality and credibility from police, even amid challenges like the devastation from Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Riley said Charleston will miss the man who seemed to be everywhere at once, whether helping at traffic accidents, visiting residents’ homes or granting media interviews.