11/22/2012 21:19 EST | Updated 01/22/2013 05:12 EST

'Canada's toughest cop' dies at 79

A man once known as "Canada's toughest cop" died of cancer at the age of 79 on Tuesday.

Known for his bold attitude and for carrying a Model 1927 semi-automatic gun, Albert Lisacek came toe-to-toe with some of Montreal's most notorious criminals in the 1970s.

Warren Perley covered Lisacek's exploits for decades while he worked as a crime reporter for various Montreal newspapers.

"Albert was the best known police officer in Canada in the 70s," said Perley. "If a tough guy gave him lip, he would give him more than lip back."

He added that Lisacek's attitude often got him into trouble with his superiors.

In an interview last year with CBC's French service, Radio-Canada, Lisacek recalled arresting one of his archenemies, bank-robber and accused killer Richard Blass.

"Once, I was transferring Blass with two of his buddies in a car with my partner and [Blass] was laughing. He was saying 'Lisacek, my buddies are going to block the road and come save us.' I grabbed my pistol, I turned around, and put it right under his nose. I said 'Richard, first thing, if we get attacked I blow your head off and then I'll defend myself," said Lisacek.

Blass was nicknamed "the cat" because he successfully escaped from the police three times. He was eventually condemned to 23 years in prison on a slew of charges ranging from 1965 to 1975.

Perley said Lisacek's tough behaviour was part of a deep sense of right and wrong and a desire to do good.

"He wanted to be remembered as a people's cop, as a cop who protected those who couldn't protect themselves."