Longtime El Paso police Chief Greg Allen died Tuesday after nearly 15 years at the helm of the Police Department.

Allen's death was announced Tuesday afternoon by the city of El Paso. He was 71. A cause of death was not disclosed.

“We lost a great leader today," El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said in a statement. "El Paso Chief of Police Greg Allen was not only an incredible Chief of Police, but he was an incredible son, husband, father, and friend.

Allen was appointed the first African American police chief in El Paso in March 2008 after previously serving as interim chief following the retirement of former Chief Richard Wiles, who now is El Paso County sheriff, the El Paso Times reports.

In 1978, Allen joined the El Paso Police Department, starting off patrolling Central and the West Side. Throughout the decades, he moved up to the rank of deputy chief in charge of the Central and Pebble Hills regional command centers. He oversaw the department during a period of continued growth and challenges for El Paso.