- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose's book on the sniper investigation and his new consulting company faced a key test at a county ethics hearing last night in Rockville.
Chief Moose, in civilian clothes, spent more than two hours before the county's five-member ethics commission, which was reviewing his book deal, the consulting firm and his teaching job at Montgomery College to see whether the ventures complied with county laws on outside work for public officials.
The commission, made up of volunteers who are not county employees, did not release any timetable for announcing a decision.
Chief Moose said he did not see any conflict of interest between his private ventures and his public work.
He said he was satisfied with the meeting and that "very interesting questions" were asked.
The chief called the book "a memoir, my life's story," and acknowledged that he didn't seek permission to write it until he found a publisher.
His outside interests have fueled speculation that he may leave the police department. When asked after the hearing whether he was looking elsewhere, he replied, "I'm not looking for work."
Montgomery's ethics law states that a public employee "must not intentionally use the prestige of office for private gain or the gain of another." It also bars public officials from revealing confidential material to the public.
Commission Chairman Elizabeth Kellar wrote an advisory opinion in December reminding police officials of the county's laws, citing the crush of attention generated by the sniper investigation.
Chief Moose, a daily fixture on national television during the three-week string of shootings in October in which 10 persons were killed and three were wounded, still enjoys celebrity status. He continues to be in demand as a public speaker and often is stopped on the street by people who want to meet him.
The chief has capitalized on that fame, signing a deal with Dutton books to write a first-person account of the investigation, called "Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the D.C. Sniper."
Chief Moose and his wife, Sandy, also formed a crisis-management consulting company in December, just six weeks after the sniper search ended.
Mrs. Moose, who also attended the hearing last night at the County Office Building, said the Two Moose-A Caring Partnership had yet to make any money.
Chief Moose's contract allows him to do outside work, and County Executive Douglas M. Duncan has said he supports the chief's endeavors. But county officials also say Chief Moose must obtain approval from the board, calling his failure to do so an unintentional oversight.
Before the hearing, Mr. Duncan released a statement reiterating support for the police chief, whom he hired in 1999.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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