ROCKVILLE, Md. – Montgomery County Police Chief
Charles Moose’s defiant campaign to cash in on fame he
gained from leading the Beltway sniper case is hurting
police morale, police union officials here say.
“There’s a general feeling of disgust,” said Walter E.
Bader, president of the 1,034-member Montgomery County
Fraternal Order of Police.
He says the rank-and-file think Moose – by pursuing
lucrative book and movie contracts, in spite of ethics
rules against them – has brought disgrace on the
Discontent boiled over late last month when transcripts
of Moose’s pleadings in a closed-door hearing before
the Montgomery County Ethics Commission revealed his
motives to be almost entirely financial.
“It really is a once-in-a-lifetime (opportunity),”
Moose said of the book deal, worth at least $170,000.
“I just, like I said earlier, I never fathomed that I
would have this opportunity. But also, even with this
good fortune, I don’t fathom that I’m going to get a
“It’s really different,” he continued. “It’s really
not something that I ever thought was gonna happen. I
guess that makes it in the category to come here and
ask for a waiver, ask for consideration, because it is
once in a lifetime.”
Bader told WorldNetDaily it looks as if Moose, who
complained about his wife’s and son’s unpaid law
school bills, is attempting to “cash in on others’
misfortunes,” referring to the 10 people gunned down
by the snipers last fall.
“Let’s hope that 10 more people won’t die to give him
another ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ chance for fame and
money,” he said.
“I sure bet those victims’ families wish their loved
ones had a ‘lifetime’ at all,” Bader added. “You think
Mrs. (Linda) Franklin would have liked a ‘lifetime’
with her husband in their new house? I know (retired
Montgomery County Police) officer (James L.) Buchanan
(Sr.) wishes he could share part of his ‘lifetime’
with his son, Sonny.”
Franklin, an FBI analyst, was shot in the head in a
Virginia Home Depot parking lot after she and her
husband had bought items for a home they had just
bought. Sonny Buchanan was shot in the back while
mowing a lawn in Maryland.
“They are not opportunities,” Bader said.
Besides, he says he and other officers aren’t sure
what Moose “did to solve anything” during the sniper
investigation, which was plagued by miscues and
“Many intense investigations take months or years to
resolve, yet police officers don’t do it with an eye
toward personal financial gain,” Bader said. “Officers
feel rewarded when citizens just say, ‘Thank you,’
which is a small token often overlooked.”
Responding to Bader’s comments, Montgomery County
Police Department spokeswoman Lucille Baur said, “I
don’t believe the feelings he’s espousing represent
the entire sworn and unsworn police force.”
Moose’s officers also are upset that his wife has
tried to turn his ethics battle into a racial issue.
During the hearing, Sandy Herman-Moose, who is white
but claims to be part Cherokee, complained about the
“institutionalized racism” her black husband has
allegedly suffered throughout his 28-year career. And
she told the five-member ethics panel that he just
wants a “fully white group to give him the permission
to make some money.”
In a subsequent press conference, she compared Moose
to Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela in their
struggle for equality. After the panel refused to let
Moose profit from the prestige of his office, he sued
the county in federal court for allegedly violating
his civil rights. He claims to be denied free speech
and expression, even though the county is only barring
him from profiting from the book, not writing it.
County Executive Doug Duncan, who hired Moose in 1999,
has endorsed his book and movie deals before the
Growing dissension in the force over Moose’s
relentless pursuit of the deals follows on the heels
of an acrimonious battle between Moose and the police
union during its most recent contract negotiations.
The union accused Moose of withholding information
about the sniper suspects, both black, from detectives
and patrol officers while trying to completely rule
out white suspects. Bader demanded management add to
the contract a safety provision requiring Moose to
relay look-out information on future dangerous
suspects as soon as he gets it. The union got the
clause written into the contract over Moose’s vocal
At the same time, Moose fought a healthy pay raise the
union requested to keep up with skyrocketing area
housing costs. The union lost its bid, and had to
settle for a meager 2 percent cost-of-living
Moose, meanwhile, remains the highest-paid county
official, earning more than $160,000 a year.