Montgomery's Ex-Chief to Be a Rookie in Honolulu

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Honolulu Police Department is poised to welcome a seasoned ex-Montgomery County officer to its ranks -- none other than former chief Charles A. Moose.

Moose, who gained international attention during the October 2002 sniper shootings in the Washington area, is expected to graduate from the Hawaiian police department's 154th class next month.

So far, he has passed the grueling, six-month academy with flying colors, said Honolulu Police Chief Boisse P. Correa.

"He will be graduating," Correa said. "I'm very proud of our police department; that we can get someone of his status says that we're a sharp organization."

Moose, 53, who became a fixture on TV news during the shootings, declined to speak about his new job Friday, saying that he's not authorized to speak to reporters.

"They've got a different set of rules here about police officers dealing with the media," he said.

Moose stepped down as police chief in Montgomery in June 2003 to write a book about the sniper investigation: "Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper."

He was criticized during the sniper investigation for the early focus on a white box truck; two suspects were later arrested in an old Chevy Caprice. His impromptu, impassioned statements during news conferences were illustrative of the fear and anxiety that gripped the Washington area during shootings.

John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were convicted this year in the six homicides that happened in Montgomery. They were implicated in four other shootings in the region.

Correa said there's no age limit to join the Honolulu academy. Moose, one of 40 recruits expected to graduate Nov. 7, will be on probation for a year. Rookie officers are assigned to patrol work under the supervision of a senior officer during the first six months of their training period and are then assigned to foot patrol for the rest of probation.

Correa said it is not unusual for seasoned officers who have retired from other agencies to seek work at his department, which has approximately 2,100 officers. But they shouldn't expect a sleepy, late-career job.

"It's difficult," Correa said of the academy. "If you fail any part of it, you're out. And we're very strict."

Moose will earn about $37,000 -- the chief's job in Montgomery pays more than $180,000 -- and will have to compete for promotions like any other officer.

"No preferential treatment," Correa said.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company