When former East St. Louis detective Orlando Ward was sentenced on drug conspiracy charges last week, his many supporters, the U.S. attorney and even the judge described him as a good cop who made a mistake.
That's such an insult to the many law-abiding police officers, in East St. Louis and elsewhere. Mistake doesn't begin to describe what Ward did.
He agreed to use his position of public trust to help a gang leader move massive quantities of cocaine through East St. Louis. As an officer in East St. Louis for many years, Ward knew firsthand how cocaine and other drugs have destroyed lives, fueled violence and devastated the community. But he didn't worry himself with that; he just wanted to make some quick, easy cash.
That's a deliberate, inexcusable choice, not a mistake.
Ward is going to pay dearly for his crime; the five-year prison sentence he received last week is perhaps the least of it. He will not be able to work in law enforcement again. He will lose his pension.
But don't feel sorry for Orlando Ward. He had a respected job and a loving family and yet he chose crime. Just be glad that this bad cop got caught.