The Arlington Police Department lent one of its top detectives to federal authorities last year so he could play the role of a corrupt officer willing to fix cases for a price.

Yesterday the department received a $93,780 check for his work.

The money, presented by U.S. Attorney Henry E. Hudson at a news conference at Arlington police headquarters, is part of the $150,000 in bribes that persons who had been charged with crimes offered to two undercover agents during Operation Nomad, a four-month federal-local investigation in 1986.

Operation Nomad produced 36 indictments in September 1986, which resulted in the arrest and conviction of 16 persons on charges including racketeering, drug dealing, gun violations and bribery. Three suspects remain at large.

The 19 persons were part of a loosely organized group who called themselves gypsies, police said. They offered bribes to the two officers to drop pending criminal charges in Virginia, Maryland and five other states. The charges included sodomy, driving while intoxicated, fraud, aggravated burglary and firearms and probation violations.

In exchange for the bribes, undercover police gave the suspects bogus documents showing that the cases were dismissed.

The investigation was a joint effort of the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Arlington police. It ended in a banquet room at Crystal City's Hyatt Regency Hotel where Arlington Detective Bruce Hackert had lured some of the suspects to a bogus retirement party.

Police, who had been watching the affair via hidden television, raided the party and arrested seven guests.

Yesterday, Arlington Police Chief William K. Stover said the money would be used to buy drug enforcement equipment, to reimburse overtime expenditures in drug cases and to provide increased training. "That makes me smile," he said.

Hudson said he plans to give Stover a $39,000 check soon, also from the proceeds of the case.

The reimbursement was made possible by a federal law allowing for the distribution of a criminal's assets in certain cases. During the last year federal law enforcement agencies have awarded more than $500,000 to local and state agencies for their help, Hudson said. About $1.1 million in additional assets are pending distribution.

The Virginia State Police have received more than $60,000, the Prince William County police about $9,000 and the Falls Church police about $4,000, said Hudson.

Under the same program, Henrico County received 11 automobiles, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office got a Cessna 210 aircraft and Virginia Beach police have received cars, boats and an airplane, he said.