Expert Spotlight: Leeanne M. Whitwell (former Special Agent, U.S. Capitol Police)
In October of 2016, Ms. Whitwell joined TAG as an Analyst and Instructor in the assessment and management of threatening and concerning behavior, the prevention of violence, and the response to attacks in progress. Ms. Whitwell has particular expertise in conducting assessments and investigations into unwanted communications, harassment, threats, and stalking by known and unknown individuals.
Prior to joining TAG, Ms. Whitwell was a Special Agent assigned to the Threat Assessment Section within the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) in Washington, DC. She has conducted over 1,000 assessments and investigations into threats and concerning communications directed at Members of the U.S. Congress. She analyzed the risk posed to Members of Congress, their families, and their staff. She formulated plans to alleviate the risk, ensured the safety of those affected, and pursued criminal prosecution when warranted. In 2014, Ms. Whitwell received an award from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California commending her exemplary investigative work on a complex case involving a perpetrator who threatened over 100 Members of Congress.
As a USCP Special Agent, Ms. Whitwell provided instruction to the congressional community on safety protocols, including managing unwanted guests and handling concerning communications. As a field training agent, Ms. Whitwell conducted classroom instruction and on-the-job training for new agents.
In addition to her role at the USCP, Ms. Whitwell spent a significant period of her career assigned to the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force within the Washington Field Office (WFO). As an FBI Task Force Officer and the Threat Coordinator for the WFO, Ms. Whitwell investigated threats to government executives and politicians, and coordinated the assistance of FBI field offices across the country for congressional threat investigations outside of the DC area. Ms. Whitwell also assisted the task force with investigations into bank robberies, shootings, and other violent crimes in the Washington, DC, area.
Ms. Whitwell received a commendation from FBI Director James Comey for her excellent work and outstanding contributions in conducting complex and sensitive investigations while working with the Violent Crimes Task Force. Notably, in 2013, Ms. Whitwell assisted in the investigation of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, and she led the FBI portion of an investigation into an assault on a federal officer that had resulted in a fatal shooting near the U.S. Capitol building.
Prior to becoming a Special Agent, Ms. Whitwell was a USCP Police Officer. She provided internal and external security to the U.S. Capitol complex, ensuring the safety of Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and visitors.
Throughout her career, Ms. Whitwell obtained extensive training in law enforcement operations, interviewing and interrogation, threat assessment, mental illness, and active shooter response. Ms. Whitwell attended training programs at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers in Glynco, GA, and Cheltenham, MD. Ms. Whitwell has received specialized training on a variety of topics, including threat assessment and mental illness provided by mental health professionals and partner agencies, threat management and violence indicators provided by the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center, handwriting and statement analysis provided by the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), mass shooting and campus violence trends provided by the FBI’s BAU, and active shooter response provided by the USCP.
Ms. Whitwell attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree with distinction in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice. During her undergraduate studies, she completed an Honors Thesis on family relationships affected by criminality of loved ones, a project for which she was awarded “Outstanding Thesis in Sociology” by JMU’s Sociology Department.