SLIDELL, La. (WGNO) – Family, friends, and community members are honoring the life of a former Slidell police chief.

They gathered for the funeral for retired Chief Max Rodriguez.

Rodriguez will rest at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Slidell.

Before his tenure in law enforcement, he served in the Coast Guard during the Korean War.

After moving from the St. Roch area to Slidell in 1959, Max Rodriguez became one of the few Slidell police officers. Years later, he became Slidell’s chief of police, serving for three terms from 1978-1990.

“He was tough, and he was hard, but he was fair, you know,” Rodriguez’s son Max Rodriguez, Jr. said. “He commanded respect, and he got it.”

Dozens attended Rodriguez’s funeral services Monday, a gesture for a man who gave so much of himself to serve his community.

“People who I haven’t seen in years that he came in contact with… He touched so many lives, and many of them were here today to show respect, including our sitting chief,” Max Jr. said.

Slidell Chief of Police Randy Fandal says Rodriguez hired him as a reserve officer in 1980.

“His leadership definitely aspired me to become a chief of police in Slidell one day,” Fandal said.

Rodriguez’s sons say their father’s legacy will live on in the City of Slidell just like people’s memories of him.

“He’ll always be known as chief,” Rhett Rodriguez said. “Anyone who knows him from Slidell, anywhere… we hear a different story from him every day. I mean, people come out the woodwork. He was highly respected.”

Rodriguez leaves behind his wife of 44 years, six children, several grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was 89.