- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2002

Police Chief Charles A. Moose, who was sharply critical yesterday of television and newspaper coverage of the sniper shootings that have gripped the region since Oct. 2, was known as an emotional and, at times, hot-tempered cop before coming to Montgomery County.
While Chief Moose won praise from top officials in Portland, Ore., for his hard work as police chief there from 1993 to 1999, some in that city's government have said the chief's temper has been an issue throughout his career.
The chief's personnel file shows that between 1975 and 1999 he was disciplined in four cases and sent to counseling for blowing up at people he thought were discriminating against him, according to a report printed in the Portland Oregonian in July 1999.
The chief, who holds a U.S. history degree from the University of North Carolina, left Portland in 1999 to head up the Montgomery County police force for an annual salary of $125,000.
During the 24 years spent with the Portland force, he almost always appeared in a standard police uniform even as he advanced into management positions. Although the appearance won him points with rank-and-file officers, some of his other qualities rubbed officials the wrong way.
"There were times he drove me nuts," Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten told the Oregonian, in reference to a time when Chief Moose reportedly yelled at Portland Mayor Vera Katz and others who were investigating the use of shotguns filled with small bean bags to disperse a hostile crowd in that city.
Mr. Sten and Mrs. Katz did not return phone calls to The Washington Times yesterday. But the Oregonian reported Mr. Sten as describing Chief Moose's outburst as one in which officials were "trying to ask him questions about a serious incident, and he gets really mad at us. He has a temper, and we all saw it."
In recent days, local reporters and news crews have seen Chief Moose, who has become the public face of the investigation into the sniper attacks, run a gamut of emotions from fierce determination to spontaneous tears to indignant anger.
On Monday, a tear trickled down his face after he announced that a 13-year-old boy was the latest shooting victim. The display of emotion by the chief and by others who joined Chief Moose at the news conference is much more accepted and commonplace today than many realize, one analyst said.
"Anyone who thinks the world functions on intellect is sadly mistaken," said Alex Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University. "The world functions on emotions. If a public official doesn't get emotional especially at times such as these, then they're hiding the truth, as far as I'm concerned."
Yesterday, Chief Moose showed the cameras another side: Frustrated sarcasm.
The chief openly scolded reporters particularly those with WUSA-TV (Channel 9) who had run with a late-night story about the discovery outside the Bowie school where the 13-year-old was shot of a tarot card with a taunting message on it.
"Do you want the police department to work the case or do you want Channel 9 to work the case? Let me know, and we will turn it over to the media and let you solve it," the chief said.
Channel 9 responded by issuing a statement to news outlets, saying police never issued any request for reporters to keep quiet about the discovery of the tarot card.
Meanwhile, law-enforcement sources told The Times that publicizing the tarot "death card" apparently left as a calling card by the sniper, might help solve the crimes. One police source called the tarot card one of the first real pieces of evidence in the case.
But Chief Moose said the best thing to do is to forget the issue and get back to the matter at hand finding the sniper who remains on the loose.


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