Richard Pennington, who attained national renown for bringing departmental reforms and helping reduce crime rates while serving as chief in New Orleans, died May 4 at a hospice center in Atlanta. He was 70.

The cause was complications from a series of recent strokes, said his wife of 23 years, Rene Webb Pennington.

Pennington spent more than 25 years in Washington, DC, and was serving as deputy chief when he was recruited to lead the New Orleans police in 1994. He left New Orleans in 2002, after losing a mayoral contest to communications executive Ray Nagin Jr., and then served as police chief in Atlanta until retiring in 2010, the Washington Post reports.