Rex Blackbourn died last month at the age of 89 from complications of Alzheimer's and dementia.
More than 100 people attended his funeral at The United Reformed Church in Shrewsbury.
Mr Blackbourn served in the police during the 1980s and was in charge of Shrewsbury, where he was instrumental in setting up a local victim support branch, and Wellington stations during his time.
The youngest of 12 children, he served in the Royal Navy, mainly as a submariner, between 1945 and 1959, before joining Lincolnshire Police in 1959.
During his police career he held a number of positions, including deputy co-ordinator of the no.3 regional crime squad, covering the whole of the Midlands, targeting major gangs who crossed county boundaries.
In the 1980s he joined West Mercia Police and became a regular at Shrewsbury Town FC.
A tribute from his daughter Sue and son Nick, said: "He was always known to be a very sociable and a popular figure amongst all the ranks, never losing sight of his working-class roots in Lincoln.
"Those who attended Shrewsbury Town FC matches at the Gay Meadow during the 1980s will recall him striding beside the pitch - military style, cane tucked under his arm, due to his Royal Navy years - where he commanded great authority.
"It was,an authority that he always combined with a heart of compassion for people from all walks of life.
"He loved his sport and played rugby at representative level. During his retirement he had more time to enjoy his favourite pastimes, including golf, clay pigeon shooting, gardening and singing in choirs.
"He was greatly loved and will be sadly missed."
They added that the whole family would like to thank Ottley House care home in Shrewsbury for taking care of their father.
He leaves behind his wife of 66 years, Claudine, children Sue and Nick, and grandchildren Sarah, Dan, Nat and Sam.
Donations to the Alzheimer's Society in memory of Mr Blackbourn can be made online at rex-blackbourn.muchloved.com or by contacting Pughs Funeral Directors on 01743 344646