EAST ST. LOUIS — Orlando Ward, a veteran detective with the city's police department, has been in federal custody since Monday evening but it is unclear why he was arrested.
Charges have not been announced against Ward, who has worked in the department for about 12 years.
Mayor Alvin L. Parks Jr. said the police officers he spoke with are in shock.
"Mr. Ward is someone they respected -- all of his contributions to the city, to the department and to law enforcement in general," Parks said.
Parks said he doesn't have a clue about what Ward is being held for.
Police Chief Michael Floore declined to comment, saying he could not talk about anything right now. He said when he is able to share any information he will.
No one with the FBI would talk about it either.
Ward has not been charged with anything and Parks said, "We have to remember that he is still an innocent man."
"We're hoping Mr. Ward is operating within the law," he added.
Parks said he learned Tuesday night from Floore that Ward had been arrested by federal agents.
"I was disappointed and curious," Park said of his reaction. "And at the same time, because you don't know the circumstances or what the whole situation is, it is hard to react."
Parks has known Ward close to 20 years. He said they met at St. Luke's AME church, where both of them worshipped.
Parks is still a member of the church and Ward is not, he said.
Ward has been the lead investigator on a number of homicides, burglaries and rapes in the city. He has received numerous awards for his outstanding police work.
Parks said most recently he was recognized by the city for his work in solving the robbery at a local church in which several attendees were robbed of their personal belongings. Ward also was instrumental in solving the case in which a woman was raped near the Emerson Park MetroLink station.
Parks said he knows this latest arrest "brings into question whether the city has any officers who want to do the right thing the right way." But Parks added, "The city as well as the community is going to be safe because we do have plenty of good officers."
Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.