An East St. Louis police detective is in federal custody today on charges that he and six other men helped distribute more than five kilos of cocaine in St. Clair and Madison counties over the last month.
Orlando Ward, 41, has been with the department for more than a decade. He will remain in jail until a hearing on May 15.
Michael Floore, the East St. Louis police chief, said he first learned Ward was under investigation on Tuesday, but only because aware of the charges when the indictment was unsealed today. He said he was shocked and disappointed to learn of Ward's alleged crimes, but says he has confidence in the rest of the department.
"One bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch," Floore said. "We've still got some qualified police officers, we've still got officers that have great credibility. You can't judge one person for another's mistake."
Floore said he did not know what impact the allegations would have on cases Ward was investigating, but said Ward always worked with another agency.
Mayor Alvin Parks called the allegations "disgusting" and "disappointing." The city, he said, will work with the Metro East Police Department Commission to tighten the department's ethical standards, as well as make sure the city is hiring the right people to be officers.
"We'll be checking to see if there are some real financial issues in their background," he said. "Does a person have a gambling habit? Does a person have some other major credit issues that might drive that person toward behavior that we know we should not be seeing in the police department."
The federal indictment does not lay out a possible motive behind Ward's alleged drug distribution.
Parks says he also plans to drug test all city employees, although he acknowledges that not all dealers use drugs.
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