On the clock, SEPTA officer Loyd Rodgers helped bring a baby into the world. Five months later, he caught a fugitive in Market East Station. "I brought in an innocent life first," said Rodgers, 53, "And then I took out the trash."
On Monday, Rodgers brought Marvin Holmes, a Delaware man wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service, to justice. Holmes was wanted in his home state for violating his parole after he was charged with rape. After he received a police alert flier for Holmes early last week, Rodgers recognized Holmes as a frequent visitor to the Gallery and SEPTA's Market East Regional Rail Station.
It's all in the approach. "I didn't want to spook him," Rodgers said. He casually asked the man to walk with him, then threw him against the wall and slapped on the cuffs, Rodgers said.
Now when they see him, locals stop the 6-foot-2-inch former basketball player at Market East and pump his hand and call him a hero. "Without the cape," he said with a smile.
In October, Rodgers and another officer spotted a 22-year-old woman gliding up an escalator at the Olney Transportation Center holding a baby with an umbilical cord attached. They comforted the mother, wrapped the baby in a sweatshirt and called for help.
They both brought joy, according to Rodgers. "Birthing a child is pure joy," he said. "Catching the perp is joy to others, because he's off the streets."
Encore? "Something on the terrorist level, spoil some kind of terrorist attack," Rodgers said. "That would be national."
"He didn't know all the information that I had on him, so he's trying to plead his case and he was telling me, 'I don't understand, officer, why you had to do it this way because it's only – I'm an escapee from a halfway house.' I said, 'How about a rapist?' I said, 'How about that?' He said, 'No, officer, that's a mistake.' I mean, he was always polite. He never, ever really got into it with me, ever."
Rodgers, on collecting the fugitive.
- A SEPTA policeman for almost 13 years.
- A former correctional officer
- A University of Pittsburgh security guard