- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

ROCKVILLE People still come up to Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose on the street to shake his hand or ask for autographs. And shop owners display snapshots of themselves with the chief, who is recognized everywhere he goes.
But four months after his task force and he helped capture the Washington area snipers, Chief Moose faces a new kind of attention.
His book scheduled for a fall release and the crisis-management consulting company he formed with his wife, Two Moose: A Caring Partnership, could have violated ethics laws that prohibit Montgomery County officials from profiting from their work.
Chief Moose did not request permission from the county, and as a result its ethics commission is expected to meet today to review the book deal, consulting company and a community college teaching post he has held for two years.
Chief Moose is in the same position as many people who find unexpected fame.
The public attention, speaking invitations, and offers from literary agents and others to help capitalize on the fame can easily overwhelm a person, said Vivian Weil of the Illinois Institute of Technology's Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. "You can understand someone being unsettled by it and even failing to pass it by the ethics board."
Chief Moose has the backing of most county leaders, including County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, Democrat. He has said Chief Moose's failure to get approval for the consulting and teaching work was an "oversight."
Chief Moose did not respond to requests for comment, but his wife, Sandy, said in a recent interview that the couple expected the board to approve the consulting firm and Chief Moose's other work.
"Everything is going to be looked at," Mrs. Moose said. "The ethics commission has work to do. They'll do that work and we'll be fine."
Under county confidentiality rules, Chief Moose's hearing is expected to be closed to the public and the media. Commission Chairman Elizabeth Kellar would not comment on the case, citing those rules.
Chief Moose's enterprises will be examined under Montgomery's ethics law. And in a recent advisory-opinion memo, Miss Kellar reminded police commanders about the rules on speaking fees.
She quoted part of the county ordinance that reads, "A public employee must not intentionally use the prestige of office for private gain or the gain of another."
Miss Kellar also noted that the law bars county employees from revealing confidential information.
Chief Moose gained national attention in Portland, Ore., where he was police chief for six years, by moving into one of the city's toughest neighborhoods, a demonstration he said showed his commitment to community policing.
In 1999, he moved to Montgomery County, a largely affluent suburb with a low crime rate and a relatively low-profile police department.
Chief Moose became a daily fixture on national television during the sniper investigation, giving live news conferences several times a day. For many he was a reassuring figure, especially when he let down his tough exterior to shed a tear for a 13-year-old boy shot at school.
Since the arrest of suspects Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, Chief Moose has been in demand, including appearances on talk shows and requests to profile him in newspaper stories.
Yet he is not the only police chief to capitalize on a highly public profile, said John Kleinig, director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics at John Jay College in New York.
"Just think about how many autobiographies have been written with generous advances. I don't think people worry about that too much unless it creates conflicts of interest," Mr. Kleinig said.
He also said such conflicts would include outside work that distracts from police duties, a book or speech that reveals confidential information or the appearance that a chief is cashing in on a tragedy.
For example, former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was criticized after the September 11 attacks for hastily adding a chapter to his finished memoirs.
If Chief Moose's ventures are approved, he could be in the spotlight for some time to come.
Along with publishing the book, he has sold the movie rights to his story.
That means he is likely to continue to face the ethical dilemmas that come with fame, Mr. Kleinig said.
"It's like the guy who wins the lottery and suddenly finds he's the subject of enormous amounts of attention and pressures," he said. "I'm sure it's very hard to cope with that type of situation."

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