Remembered for Heartfelt Leadership

Portland’s first Black police chief dies at age 68

11/29/2021, 11:14 a.m.
Current Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell mourns death of former chief Charles Moose, describing his police work legacy as a ...
Charles Moose, Portland’s first Black police chief, died Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021.
Charles Moose, who was Portland’s first Black police chief and later known for his role in the Washington, D.C., sniper attacks, died on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 68.

The Montgomery County Police Department announced the Nov. 25, 2021 death in a Facebook post that Moose’s wife shared. No cause of death was given.

“We are extremely saddened by the news announcing the passing of former Chief Charles Moose,” said Montgomery County’s Chief, Marcus Jones. “He was a great leader and led our department through the DC Sniper investigation, one of the most difficult crime sprees in our country’s history. We send condolences to his wife Sandy and all of his family and friends.”

Moose served as Portland police chief from 1993 to 1999. During that time he also taught at Portland State University, where he received a doctorate in urban studies and criminology. He lived in the historic Albina community of northeast Portland during his time as chief in Portland where he was known for meeting community members where they lived.

“I feel connected to Chief Moose as he was the first African-American Chief, a champion of community policing and led the Bureau during challenging times,” current Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell tweeted on Friday. “Chief Moose was a large presence and had a servant’s heart.”

In 1999 Moose become the chief for Montgomery County in Maryland, where he served until 2003.

He gained national fame in October 2002, when he served as the national face of a multi-agency task force during three weeks of random shootings in the district, Maryland and Virginia. Ten people were killed. John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were later convicted.