Charles Moose, former Montgomery County and Portland, OR Police chief at helm during DC snipers, passes at 68


Former Montgomery County and Portland, OR Police Chief Charles Moose has passed away at the age of 68. Moose’s wife, Sandy, made the unexpected announcement in a Facebook post on Thanksgiving evening.

“He called my name, and I came running but it was too late. His body was shutting down,” Sandy shared. “He meant so much to so many, I’m at a loss… Godspeed Charles.”

Sandy Moose referred to her late husband as her “best friend since 1982” and “the absolute love of my life.” She did not disclose his cause of death.

Moose was chief of police from 1999 to 2003 and is perhaps most remembered for his work during the 2002 DC sniper attacks.

In June 2003, Moose resigned from Montgomery County Police following a dispute over a book deal and movie consulting contract about his work in the sniper investigation.

In September 2003, ‘Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper’ was released. Moose also appeared on national television programs including ‘Dateline NBC’ and ‘The Today Show’ to promote his 384-page tale.


Moose and his wife moved to Hawaii. In 2006, Moose, then 53, joined the Honolulu Police Department as a patrol officer. The now-defunct Honolulu Star-Bulletin interviewed Moose during his police academy graduation ceremony.

“The physical part was very challenging, but I actually got better,” Moose told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of the six-month training academy. “So, the training actually works. It got an old guy into shape… I did lose weight, but I’m ashamed to say how much.”

Honolulu Police Department policy stated that all new sworn officers had to begin as a recruit. Sandy Moose pinned a gold police badge on her husband’s police uniform during the ceremony.

A Honolulu television station also interviewed Moose at the time and asked why a nationally-recognized chief would be interested in returning to often-grueling police beat work. After all, he had been earning a salary of more than $180,000 in Montgomery County whereas Honolulu PD rookies earned around $37,000 at the time, according to a Washington Post article.

“I hope to bring experience, inside perspective, help co-workers,” Moose told KHNL-TV. “So, I’m hopefully just going to work the street and do patrol for the Honolulu Police Department to see if I can influence and change things at that level.”

An August 2010 newspaper article reported Moose had left the Honolulu Police Department. He retired to the Tampa Bay, Florida, area.

Moose received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1975. He received a master’s degree in public administration and a doctorate in urban studies and criminology from Portland State University.


News of Moose’s passing caught the law enforcement community by surprise. Individuals in a pro-law enforcement Facebook group shared their memories of Moose.

“RIP Chief. He earned my respect during the sniper shootings and I will be forever grateful for his leadership.” — Cheryl Stokes Walker

“I remember the days of the snipers and how his speaking at the news conferences would make me feel a little safer, even though we were far from safe. He was very well respected.” — Donna Digiacomo

“He treated me and my unit fairly. Always had a kind word to say when he saw me. Gone much too soon. RIP Chief Moose.” — Lee Marsh

“Sad news and so young. He was always caring, considerate, and thoughtful to me, personally treated me well. A salient memory of Chief Moose that made an immediate impression about his leadership was the time he rented the movie theatre at The Kentlands and took the entire Executive Staff to a private viewing of ‘Remember the Titans.’ We all absorbed that distinguishing experience. Thinking about Chief Moose and his beloved Sandy.” — Mary Alice Nicholson Martus

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