Whitman Police

Man Enlists Help of Whitman Police in Elaborate Proposal: ‘I Want You to Arrest Me'

Wayne Morse had a unique request for the Whitman Police Department

Whitman Officer Harrington, Julia Harrington

For better, for worse?

Wayne Morse knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with his girlfriend, Kristen Fleming. So he came up with a unique idea to ask her to be his wife: faking his own arrest.

Yes, you read that right.

When Morse first called the Whitman Police Department and asked if they would help him propose to his girlfriend by "arresting" him, there was a long pause. Then the officer on the phone asked Morse to repeat himself.

"I want you to arrest me," Morse said again before revealing more about his elaborate plan to propose to Fleming.

Morse and Fleming were planning to go out to eat with her parents at The Patio at McGuiggan's on Friday, Sept. 9. Morse wanted police officers to come into the Whitman restaurant, place him under arrest, and then once Fleming came over to the police cruiser to figure out what's going on with her boyfriend, he would get out of the vehicle and drop to a knee to propose.

The Whitman officer said he was "all in for this bizarre idea" but first had to get it approved by Chief Timothy Hanlon.

According to a department Facebook post, Hanlon also needed to hear the request twice but ended up saying, "Sure, go ahead. What could go wrong?"

The police department knew lots of things could go wrong. What if they're busy answering calls when the proposal is supposed to happen? What if Fleming decides she wants nothing to do with Morse after he gets arrested. Or, some officers asked, what if Fleming freaks out and becomes disorderly?

But Morse was prepared for the "what ifs." He told the restaurant owner about his plan, and he also let his future in-laws know what was going on. (Can you imagine that conversation?) Morse forwarded a picture of himself to police, including what he'd be wearing -- no one wanted to have any issues with mistaken identity.

A few days later, Morse, Fleming and his future in-laws were eating at The Patio a little after 6 p.m. when three Whitman police cruisers pulled up out front. It caused a bit of a stir inside the Washington Street restaurant, police said.

Sgt. Andy Stafford, Officer Jeff Cormier, and Officer Rob Silva went inside, found Morse and attempted to arrest him. Officers Cormier and Silva told Morse to stand up so he could be placed under arrest, but Morse didn't move. Uhh?

Officer Silva repeated his command a couple of times before Morse's future father-in-law finally told him to stand up and Morse complied.

Morse was cuffed and walked outside the restaurant where he was placed in the back of a cruiser -- but not before Officer Silva discreetly took his cuffs off.

Fleming asked to speak to her boyfriend, so she was escorted to the cruiser where Morse was then let out, producing a large diamond ring and asking Fleming to be his wife.

Whitman police said there was some colorful language, but then Fleming said, "Yes!"

With a backlog of brides and grooms from the pandemic, a lot of local businesses are booking up.

For her part, Fleming said it was "typical Wayne style," and a day that she will NEVER forget.

"Whitman Police Department you guys are amazing!," she replied to the department's Facebook post. "I can’t thank you enough for everything you did to help Wayne bring this to life! Thank you for being a part of one of the best days of my life."

"The only thing that could have made this better might’ve been a spontaneous tase for good measure," she jokingly added.

The Whitman Police Department says they were grateful to participate in the couple's unique proposal, and they were fortunate to have had some quiet time that enabled them to do it, however, they say this was a "one-and-done occasion."

"Please do not flood our answering machines with all sorts of crazy requests. Wayne fooled us once. It won’t happen again," their Facebook post joked. "To Wayne & Kristen, The Whitman Police Department wishes you much love, health, and happiness in your future. Congratulations!"

The restaurant commended the Whitman Police Department for doing an outstanding job and said it was also honored to be a part of the couple's proposal.

"Congrats to Wayne and Kristen," a post on The Patio's Facebook page read. "We wish you a life time of love and happiness!!"

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