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Chief in sniper case wears emotions on his sleeve

From Wolf Blitzer (CNN)

Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Chief Charles Moose briefs reporters.
Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Chief Charles Moose briefs reporters.

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CNN's Wolf Blitzer examines the career of Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Chief Charles Moose (October 9)
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--Served as police chief of Portland, Oregon from 1993 to 1999
--Began career in 1975 as a patrol officer
--Holds doctorate and Masters degrees
--Taught criminal justice at Oregon State University

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (CNN) -- Five of the six lives ended by the Washington, D.C.-area sniper were taken in Montgomery County, Maryland, where Charles Moose serves as police chief.

And Moose is taking the investigation personally -- witness his emotional remarks Monday after a 13-year-old boy was shot at a middle school, and his outburst Wednesday against media coverage of the case.

Indeed, a look at Moose's career indicates that if there is a pattern, it could be one of high-profile successes, sometimes clouded by emotion.

Moose grew up in North Carolina and later moved to Portland, Oregon, where he rose through the ranks to become the city's police chief in 1993.

Former colleagues there describe Moose as a "cop's cop" who cared deeply about solving crimes, and about the officers he counted on to do that.

Moose upgraded Portland's community policing system and is credited with lowering the city's crime rate. His department was widely praised for solving the murders of three prostitutes in 1999.

Moose even bought a house in one of the city's worst neighborhoods to lead by example.

"Some people see problems as problems. He sees them as opportunities," said Tom Potter, another former Portland police chief.

But when a mob of protesters marched on his house, Moose called for police protection and was accused of using excessive force. He was also criticized for later calling his move to the neighborhood "a mistake."

Moose faced other controversies during his term as chief in Portland. In 1997, word leaked out that early in his career, Moose had made racial slurs against whites who he thought were discriminating against him.

"I'm sad that those responses occurred. I'm ashamed of my behavior in those situations, clearly embarrassed that I have to relive those situations again," Moose said at the time.

In a lawsuit filed in the late '90s, Moose was accused of discriminating against a gay police captain who had been investigated for allegedly hiring male prostitutes. But Moose had suspended the captain, going against city officials who recommended the captain be fired. The lawsuit was dismissed.

In 1999, Moose become chief of the Montgomery County Police Department. Those who know him say he carried his commitment and emotion with him to Maryland -- as evidenced by his remarks Wednesday criticizing the media's use of former law enforcement officials as analysts in their coverage of the sniper case.

"I would hope those police professionals would realize maybe they don't live here, maybe they don't have children that live here," he said.

"And so, it is all fun to be on TV, but maybe they need to come here, live here, sit outside and have coffee, and then let's see how open they will be to ranting and raving and calling the suspect names."

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