On September 11, 2001, Lillie Leonardi was a Community Affairs Specialist with the FBI’s Pittsburgh division. IN THE SHADOW OF A BADGE is her firsthand account of the spiritual encounter she experienced while serving in her professional capacity during that shattering time.

This book is the story of what Leonardi saw and heard—a personal interpretation of the events leading up to and following 9/11 and, in particular, the crash of United Airlines Flight 93. After witnessing what she describes as a “field of angels” during her first minutes at the crash site, Leonardi had to find a way to reconcile two opposing sides of her life. Her gripping account of the 12 days that she spent acting as an FBI liaison brings the reader into a world that combines the factual and logistical with the angelic and mystical. Leonardi also chronicles her ongoing process of recovery from the post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from her experiences that day, and her journey toward personal healing.

An inspiring story of what it really means to be called to service, IN THE SHADOW OF A BADGE reaffirms that it’s never too late to find a spiritual path and discover your life’s purpose.


Lillie Leonardi worked in law enforcement for more than 25 years before retiring to pursue writing. In 1984, Leonardi was appointed to serve as the first female police officer with the City of Arnold, Pennsylvania. She broke barriers again in 1994 when she was appointed the first female chief of police for Chatham College. In 1998, Leonardi joined the FBI (Pittsburgh Division) as the Community Outreach Specialist, where she served until 2010.