Former Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington was laid to rest Friday. He passed away in Atlanta last week at the age of 69. He served as Atlanta Police Chief from 2002 until his retirement in 2010.

Pennington had been in declining health recently after suffering a stroke in 2010.

He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and grew up in Gary, Indiana, where his father worked for US Steel. At the age of 18, he joined the US Air Force, and served in the Vietnam War before beginning his law enforcement career in 1968 in Washington, DC.

Pennington served with the Washington Metropolitan Police Department for 26 years before he was promoted to assistant chief of police.

In October 1994, Pennington was named police chief in New Orleans. In that city, he was credited with significantly reducing the number of officers involved in misconduct on the force, as well as cutting the city's crime rate in half.

In 2002, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin hired Pennington as police chief in Atlanta. During his tenure, the city noted a significant drop in violent crime. In 2009, Pennington was named as a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit alleging police illegally raided and searched patrons at a gay night club.

The services were held at Cascade United Methodist Church in southwest Atlanta Friday morning. Pennington will be laid to rest in Canton.

PHOTOS | Funeral for former APD Chief Richard Pennington