Republican mayoral candidate David F. Tufaro continued his criticism of the "zero-tolerance" policing strategy yesterday at the headquarters of Associated Black Charities.
Although Tufaro and Democratic opponent Martin O'Malley were invited to discuss AIDS with the Greater Baltimore HIV Health Services Planning Council, Tufaro used his opening comments to criticize the policing strategy that is credited with reducing violent crime in several U.S. cities.
Tufaro and critics of the tactic contend that the increased interaction between police and suspected criminals will result in more police brutality, particularly against minorities.
O'Malley supports the strategy, which requires police officers to address all crimes. The goal is to intercept repeat criminal offenders -- particularly those wanted on outstanding warrants -- before they commit more serious crimes.
In countering the brutality argument, O'Malley says political opponents, such as Tufaro, are trying to boost their candidacies by striking fear in residents.
Tufaro supports the "community policing" strategy employed by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke. He wants better coordination between state, federal and city agencies in going after repeat offenders.
The two men competing Nov. 2 to become Baltimore's 47th mayor met separately with about 50 members of the council, a committee appointed by the mayor to direct funding in the fight against AIDS. After their opening comments, each candidate was asked five questions on how they intend to fight the AIDS epidemic in Baltimore.
The council estimates about 9,000 Baltimore residents have tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS. About 80 percent of those affected are African-Americans. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome is the leading cause of death among black males in Baltimore ages 25 to 44.
O'Malley and Tufaro agreed to continue the city's needle exchange program. They also want an assessment of the city's drug treatment services.
O'Malley said he would like to see expanded hours for treatment services to help parolees struggling to maintain jobs and families.
Tufaro wants treatment programs extended for up to three years while offering job training, he said.