Officer of the Month November 2002

Chief Charles A. Moose

Montgomery County (MD) Police Department

Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Montgomery County (MD) Chief of Police Charles A. Moose as its Officer of the Month for November 2002. Formerly Chief of Police in Portland, Oregon, Chief Moose has been with Montgomery County since August 1999.
Overnight the name Charles A. Moose became known nationwide. This quiet unassuming metropolitan Washington D.C. area police chief is now one of the most recognized law enforcement officials in the United States. This is not a role he would have chosen for himself, but the murders of six of his residents thrust him into the spotlight. Chief Moose coordinated a joint federal and multi-state investigation into the deadly sniper attacks that terrorized the surrounding Washington, D.C. community.
The killings began on October 2, 2002. Five Montgomery County (MD) citizens, who were going about their normal everyday activities, were gunned down in cold blood within a few hours of each other. As the murders continued, the case drew attention from around the globe. Washington area residents crouched at gas pumps, cancelled local outdoor activities, kept their children off the playgrounds, and endured major traffic delays as police shut down major arteries in search of the killers.
Cooperation between city, state, county and federal agencies was unprecedented as thousands of officers from dozens of agencies were assigned to the Sniper Taskforce. There was a media frenzy surrounding this case; few other stories were even reported on the nightly news, including the death of a Virginia State Trooper. Although he had significant experience dealing with the media, nothing could have prepared Chief Moose for the blunt forces of the cameras and microphones that confronted him, sometimes four of five times a day, during his 20-hour shifts on this case.
More than three weeks of terror culminated on October 24, 2002, with the early morning arrest of two men at a Maryland rest stop, ending a wave of attacks that had turned normally quiet suburban areas into hunting grounds. Evidence suggests that John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo killed a woman at an Alabama liquor store on September 21, 2002 and, beginning 11 days later, randomly killed 10 victims and wounded four others in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Charles Moose grew up in Lexington, a small town in rural North Carolina. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in U.S. History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received a master’s degree in public administration and a doctorate in Urban Studies from Portland State University. Chief Moose began his career as a patrol officer in Portland (OR) in 1975 and quickly moved up the ranks. He served as Portland’s Chief of Police from 1993 to 1999. In August 1999, with a mandate from Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan to “defuse tension among members of minorities groups and the police”, Charles Moose assumed the duties of the county’s Chief of Police, a department with 1,074 officers sworn to serve and protect the lives and property of some 850,000 residents.
In addition to his law enforcement responsibilities, Chief Moose is a Major in the District of Columbia Air National Guard and is an adjunct faculty member at Montgomery (MD) College. He is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE); the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy’s 154th Session and the FBI National Executive Institute’s 17th Session in 1988 and 1994 respectively.
President Bush praised the no-nonsense chief of police for his conviction and compassion. “You have lifted a shadow of fear for many families,” said the President. As the three-week reign of terror ended, Chief Moose stated, “My heart goes out to the victims and the families in these shootings. We’ll never know their pain, and we only wish we could have stopped this sooner to reduce the number of victims.”
Police Unity Tour
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.