Moose reportedly was paid $170,000 to write the book and will get a $4-per-book royalty. He also received $4,250 to consult on a possible film about his role in the manhunt, though nothing is in the works yet.

While Moose could have stayed on as chief while fighting the ethics ruling in court, he thought that would be awkward and make his job difficult. "I wasn't ready to leave police work," he said in the interview. "I'm not bitter about the way I had to leave. I just hadn't planned to leave now."

Already, two cities looking for police chiefs - Greensboro, N.C., and Sacramento, Calif. - have asked Moose to apply for the job. But he declined because of the book and tour. When that work is over, he will consider returning to law enforcement, he said.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, who hired Moose as police chief in 1999 and stood by him during the ethics dispute, said Moose would prefer to not speak to the media at all, but that was impossible as a police chief and as an author.

"He's very uncomfortable with the attention he's gotten," Duncan said, but added that the story needed to be told. "When people come to you and say, 'We'll pay you to write a book,' it gets your attention. And when you do the job, you have to sell the book."

Moose uses much of the book to chronicle his rocky relationship with the media and to give his side of a story that has been told so far just by the press. For instance, he points out that the police had more than a dozen solid suspects in the first 48 hours of the investigation.

'Bumbling flatfoots'

He writes, "I know that later on the media depicted the investigating team as a bunch of bumbling flatfoots who just sort of wandered around until the two suspects we finally arrested threw themselves at us."

Moose writes that reporters asked ridiculous questions at briefings and they "have a habit of acting like they are the only ones in the world who know anything worth knowing, and that everyone else is basically stupid."

He was especially angry after it was reported that a tarot card reading "Dear Policeman, I am God" had been found near the scene of the Bowie school shooting. The card also said, "Do not release to the media."

"There was a chance to build that trust," Moose said, "and then by having the media put it out there, it just felt like any attempt at communication, any attempt at building that trust had been destroyed."

He wrote that he is "absolutely certain" that the leak of the card and the media's reporting of it was "a contributing factor in the five shootings that were still to come."

Moose said a TV station has asked him to be its on-call consultant for the sniper trials this fall, but that he'll probably turn down the offer. He hasn't been called to testify at the trials and he doesn't plan to attend them.

"It is a very difficult thing to talk about, because it still comes back to real people being dead and being wounded," Moose said. "It will be something that is a part of me forever. I won't be able to escape, but at the same time there's a part of you that wants to say you did the best you can and when will it be over?"

Sun staff writer Andrea F. Siegel contributed to this article.