After serving for 25 years and as a result of medical issues related to her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosis, Lillie Leonardi retired from the law enforcement profession and now endeavors to pursue her lifetime passion for writing. In the Shadow of a Badge: A Memoir about Flight 93, a Field of Angels, and My Spiritual Homecoming is one of three memoirs detailing spiritual encounters prior to, during and after the events of 9/11, particularly as they relate to her personal experiences at the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville (PA).
From 1998 to 2010, Lillie Leonardi was employed by the FBI (Pittsburgh Division) as its Community Outreach Specialist. During her tenure with the FBI, Lillie’s primary focus and research related to the topic of violence prevention. She also worked under the auspice of the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Pennsylvania, and served with a prestigious group of instructors who provided training on various subjects including: Community Policing, Crime Prevention, Cultural Diversity, Hate Crimes, Responding to a Major Incident, Threat Assessment and Violence Reduction Techniques; as well as other related topics. During 9/11 and in the days that followed, Lillie was utilized by the FBI to address the many representatives from the law enforcement and government agencies assisting with evidence recovery and preparations for two Flight 93 memorial services. Moreover, she not only served as primary liaison to the United Airlines Humanitarian Response Team, presenting at daily briefings and interacting with surviving family members, but was also the lead representative authorized to bring surviving family members to the crash site location for Flight 93 memorial services. Post 9/11, Lillie was the contact representative for three other projects relating to Flight 93: Smithsonian Institute, the Heinz History Museum (Pittsburgh, PA), as well as the Flight 93 Oral History Project coordinated by the Department of the Interior and based in Somerset, Pennsylvania.
As a result of her outstanding service to the community, Lillie received numerous awards including the following: Letter of Commendation – 2001/United Airlines, Ebony and Ivory Award – 2001/Pittsburgh Women of Spirit, Voice in the Wilderness Award – 2008/Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and Community Outreach Program Service Award – 2008/Federal Bureau of Investigation. She was also recently named a first runner-up by the Military Writers Society of America (2012 Annual Awards-Spiritual/Religious Category).
Lillie is well-versed in the art of public speaking; she is equally comfortable addressing intimate community gatherings of less than 100 members or large regional conferences with thousands of attendees. While employed by the FBI, her duties included serving as the primary spokesperson for all topics relating to community affairs. Many of the presentations were conducted during times of great distress within a community. On innumerable occasions, Lillie gave public addresses regarding a myriad of topics. She has served as a keynote speaker at several large regional conferences on the topics of Cultural Diversity in the 21st Century and Women in the Law Enforcement Profession, among other subjects.
Prior to her career with the FBI, Lillie worked as the lead law enforcement officer on two college campuses located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was appointed the first female chief of police for Chatham University (1994) and the Director of Security for Carlow University (1992). In 1984, Lillie was appointed to serve as the first female police officer with the City of Arnold, Pennsylvania. While employed with the police department, she specialized in crimes against children investigations and crime prevention.