- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 22, 2003

Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose would be eligible for an exemption from active-duty status with the D.C. Air National Guard, but he has not asked to be released from his military obligation, a spokeswoman for the guard said yesterday.
Chief Moose, a major in the D.C. Air National Guard, was called to active duty at 4 p.m. Tuesday as commander of the 60-member security forces squadron attached to the 113th Fighter Wing, whose F-16s protect airspace over the White House, Capitol and Pentagon.
Staff Sgt. Sophia Piellusch, a National Guard spokeswoman, said it was not known whether Chief Moose's unit, which normally is stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, would be deployed overseas. Guard members can be called to active duty for from a day to two years.
Sgt. Piellusch said Chief Moose could request to be excused from active service because of his role in law enforcement.
"If he asked for one, he could be considered for an exemption," she said. "But that hasn't happened."
Sgt. Piellusch said Chief Moose was not available for an interview yesterday.
David Weaver, a spokesman for Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, said Mr. Duncan had no conversations with Chief Moose about seeking an exemption from service.
Mr. Weaver said Mr. Duncan is "100 percent supportive" of Chief Moose's decision, adding it is an "excellent reflection of the guy Chief Moose is."
Officer Derek Baliles, a Montgomery County police spokesman, said the only thing he believes would keep the chief from fulfilling his military obligation would be if he were leading an ongoing investigation such as last fall's sniping investigation. Chief Moose did postpone a weekend of scheduled guard duty during that investigation.
"To be called to service is something he's always had in the back of his mind," Officer Baliles said. "I don't think there would be any question that he would go."
Chief Moose joined the D.C. Air National Guard shortly after he took the Montgomery County police chief job in August 1999. He served in the Oregon Air National Guard from 1987 to 1998, when he was police chief of Portland, Ore.
"We had contingency plans for this," Officer Baliles said. "We knew it could happen."
On Thursday, Mr. Duncan appointed Assistant Chief William O'Toole the acting police chief on Chief Moose's recommendation. Chief O'Toole commanded the department's field services bureau, which oversees officers on the streets.
Officer Baliles said Chief Moose has confidence in his leadership team, and he doesn't expect the chief to try to micromanage the department while on military duty.
About two dozen police officers in the 1,020-member force are reservists, and about nine have been mobilized, Officer Baliles said.

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