Candidates for governor pitch crime strategies

May 19, 1994|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Sun Staff Writer

The increasing visibility of violent, random crime "has really frightened citizens," making it the No. 1 issue in this year's gubernatorial race, state Sen. Mary H. Boergers told the state's top law enforcement officers yesterday in Glen Burnie.

Mrs. Boergers of Montgomery County was one of three Democratic gubernatorial candidates to appear at the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association's quarterly meeting at Michael's Eighth Avenue to outline their platforms on crime.

The others were state Sen. American Joe Miedusiewski of Baltimore and Lt. Gov. Melvin A. "Mickey" Steinberg.

All three candidates said criminals should serve more "hard time," and, in the most egregious cases, receive the death penalty.

Referring to the execution of convicted killer John F. Thanos this week, Mr. Miedusiewski said, "My only disappointment in the whole thing is they didn't ask me to give him the [lethal] injection."

Mrs. Boergers added, "We have to send a clear message that there are behaviors and crimes that we will not tolerate." And, if the message does not register, "at least the person executed will not be out on the street raping and murdering anyone else," she said.

In addition to greater use of the death penalty, Mrs. Boergers called for an expansion of the boot camp program for first-time offenders.

Mr. Steinberg, who said crime and violence should be treated "as a public health issue," said he would restrict the use of parole and probation. And Mr. Miedusiewski said he wants to build a 2,800-bed prison, using money set aside for a Baltimore football stadium, so "judges no longer have an excuse" for handing down light sentences.

Mrs. Boergers also cited a need for greater cooperation between law enforcement and education officials to address the breakdown in respect, particularly among teen-agers, for police.

Mr. Miedusiewski said education would take a back seat to public safety if he were governor. He told the police chiefs, "You are exposed to real warfare on the streets, and you need to be given the manpower and equipment to fight it."

Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening, also a Democrat, appeared before the group in February.

Republican candidates -- U.S. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, state Del. Ellen R. Sauerbrey and William S. Shepard -- were invited but did not attend.

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