- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ANNAPOLIS | A Maryland lawmaker apologized Tuesday for involving a police boat and helicopter in his marriage proposal to his girlfriend at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the city’s police chief said.

Delegate Jon Cardin, Baltimore County Democrat and nephew of Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, also offered to pay any expenses resulting from the diversion of police resources, police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III told reporters.

“He has contacted me, and he offered an apology for putting the Baltimore Police Department in this kind of predicament and spotlight,” Commissioner Bealefeld said.

The police department is investigating of the Aug. 7 incident, which Commissioner Bealefeld said he learned about Monday.

“I don’t know, though, that this is much beyond the scope of a couple of officers who used poor judgment,” Commissioner Bealefeld said. Officials don’t know yet how much Mr. Cardin’s proposal cost the department.

The incident has grabbed big headlines in a city with a serious crime problem during tough budget times. Making matters worse, violence has flared up recently at the Inner Harbor, which is popular with visitors to the city. Additional officers were deployed earlier this year after a series of beatings, and there was a double shooting Saturday night inside one of the waterside shopping pavilions.

Along with reaching out to the police chief, Mr. Cardin posted an explanation of his bizarre proposal on his Web site. He said he asked his best friend to help plan for the proposal to Megan Homer of Rockville.

“We decided to take her on a boat ride with a handful of our closest friends and ask the marine police to do a routine 5-minute safety check of the boat,” Mr. Cardin wrote. Officers boarded the boat and pretended to conduct a search, while the police department’s Foxtrot helicopter flew overhead.

“During the ‘fuss,’ I surprised her with my proposal and she honored me with her answer of ‘yes,’” Mr. Cardin wrote.

The delegate wrote he “focused on making my fiancee’s night perfect.”

“In retrospect, I should have considered that city resources would be involved and used better judgment to put a stop to it,” Mr. Cardin wrote.

The delegate also said he “will reimburse the city for whatever costs they deem appropriate.”

Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, said the commissioner will decide whether to accept any money from Mr. Cardin once the internal investigation of the incident is complete.

Associated Press writer Ben Nuckols in Baltimore contributed to this report.

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