An Indecent Proposal

Our View: Delegate Cardin Shouldn't Wait Until The Police Report Is Made Public To Explain How Police Resources Were Used To Shock And Awe His Fiancee

August 19, 2009

Del. Jon S. Cardin found the woman of his dreams, and suddenly those three little words were on his lips: police-involved proposal.

The Baltimore County Democrat and girlfriend Megan Homer were aboard a friend's boat in the Inner Harbor on Aug. 7 when on-duty city marine officers boarded the vessel. Pretending to search for contraband as a city police helicopter whirred overhead, the officers reportedly told Homer to turn around so they could handcuff her. When she did, there was Cardin down on one knee.

Nothing says romance like a faux police raid. Homer said yes.

But for the rest of us, the marriage proposal went down about as well as the one in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You, when the ingenue swallows the engagement ring her boyfriend tucked into her Le Cirque dessert.

Cardin tapped police resources to pop the question at time when violence is spilling into the Inner Harbor and the police department is so strapped for cash that it could disband its horseback unit.

After The Baltimore Sun's Peter Hermann raised questions about the escapade, Cardin issued a statement Monday saying that he should have "considered that city resources would be involved and used better judgment." The statement also said he would reimburse the city for "whatever costs they deem appropriate."

Cardin, who did not return calls from The Sun during the past two days, came off as not quite contrite. His statement described the marine unit's involvement as a "routine 5-minute safety check of the boat" and neglected to mention the helicopter entirely.

The financial cost to the department may turn out to be negligible. The marine unit and helicopter were said to have already been in the area on patrol. But police can ill afford to take their eyes off the ball in Baltimore, even in the Inner Harbor, where two people were shot inside the Light Street Pavilion at Harborplace last weekend.

Cardin still needs to explain just how he or his friend - the boat owner's name has not been made public - managed to get police to go along with the ruse. A police investigation into the matter should answer those questions eventually. Cardin would be smart not to keep us waiting.

The delegate did phone Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III yesterday to apologize.

That was an improvement over last weekend, when Cardin reportedly regaled fellow lawmakers with the tale of his over-the-top proposal during a conference in Ocean City. Cardin was the "toast" of the conference, The Gazette reported in a lighthearted "reporters notebook" item.

The most worrisome part: Instead of setting the lovesick delegate straight, a convention full of state lawmakers apparently showered him with attaboys.

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