PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mike Garvey, who may have been PPB’s first openly gay male officer, passed away on Monday at the age of 68 of prostate cancer.

Garvey started with the bureau in 1976 and served for 28 years before retiring in 2004.

“It’s really been an honor, a privilege, a pleasure, a great education for me to have the opportunity to do this job,” Garvey said.

Bob Ball was a close friend of Garvey’s for nearly three decades and told KOIN 6 that the former officer “fought for the underdog.”

“Mike moved the needle here. He really moved the needle. He came out and he took a lot of name calling and things that happened to him. And he was a good cop, a good leader. And over the amount of years that he was there, by the time he left, he was the most revered leader,” Ball said. “Mike loved the city of Portland. He grew up there, he loved the citizens. He wanted to make it a better place continually.”

Ball also said that his friend was a “legend” in the Portland police community and brought a great deal of enthusiasm to his work.

“He always had the most fantastic attitude and he gave it his all and whatever assignment he was in, he made the best of that assignment,” he said. “He made it about solving problems for the citizens of Portland.”