Capitalizing on Beltway Sniper Slayings

My famous local police chief, Charles "Still waiting for the white van" Moose, seems to have little time to take care of business here at home.

Montgomery County, Md.’s top cop is busy slapping together a tell-all book, polishing off a movie deal, and preaching his purported "crisis management" wisdom abroad.

Moose’s highly sought-after wisdom is, of course, derived from his gross bungling of last fall’s sniper attacks by accused killers John Muhammad and Lee Malvo.

But never mind his Keystone Cop hunt for the wrong vehicle while the snipers’ Chevy Caprice (spotted by several witnesses and stopped at least 10 times for license plate checks during the shooting spree) got away.

Pay no heed to his oversight of nonsensical roadblocks, botched hotline operations, and the deadly politically correct assumption that the snipers were crazed white militants in a non-existent white box truck.

Yes, despite these fatal missteps, gushing and gullible audiences outside Maryland are warmly welcoming Chief Moose as a spotless role model.

A local ethics investigation into his side efforts to capitalize on the brutal slayings, such as the for-profit crisis management and conflict resolution consulting firm he formed with his wife just six weeks after the "Beltway" sniper saga ended, will likely do little to slow the jet-setting Moose’s pace.

Why any group would want to host or hire Chief Moose as an exemplar of effective, responsible public leadership is beyond me.

This six-figure-salaried public servant refuses to disclose the amount of his book advance from Dutton Books. He remains similarly tight-lipped as county ethics authorities mull this week whether he and his wife are "intentionally (using) the prestige of office for private gain." He dismisses criticism of his judgment as "attacks."

Chief Moose’s office told me this week that he has not yet accepted any honoraria for his sniper-related speaking engagements.

He claims he and his wife "haven’t made a single penny" from the private consulting venture. But he remains defiantly "hopeful" that he will start turning a profit while keeping his day job.

Moose doesn’t make his travel schedule available to the public on the county police department Web site. But my research shows that he is apparently already racking up some major frequent flyer points, room service, and invaluable pre-book publication schmooze time, as an anointed Leader in Times of Crisis.

In March, he’ll do breakfast with the Virginia Press Association in Norfolk. In April, he’s headed to San Francisco to address the National School Board Association for a talk on developing "effective crisis response plans" as demonstrated by his leadership in capturing the snipers.

In May, he’ll be the special keynote speaker at a Toronto Crimestoppers convention. The group says that "Chief Moose’s skillful management of the Washington sniper events" will make his presentation "particularly meaningful and relevant."

In June, he’s trekking to Winnipeg, Canada, for the International Police Association’s "Aboriginal and Diversity Law Enforcement conference."

Chief Moose was closer to home this week for his regular appearance on a softball Beltway radio show called "Ask the Chief." It was a typical exercise in evasion and idolatry. The fawning host apologized for raising questions about the ethics investigation and concluded the interview with a giggly query about which actor would be playing Moose in the sniper attack movie.

Moose wouldn’t respond to that question either. Seems there will only be three ways to get any straight answers from the book-writing, movie-making, speech-peddling Moose about his ethical lapses and management bungles: cash, check or credit card.