Captain, New Jersey State Police (Retired)
Training & Outreach Liaison
Prosecutors Supervision & Training Bureau
Office of the Attorney General, Division of Criminal Justice
Dave Leonardis is the Training & Outreach Liaison for the Office of the Attorney General, Division of Criminal Justice, Prosecutors Supervision & Training Bureau. In that role, he is responsible for specialized training for law enforcement officers, as directed by the Attorney General and the Director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. His duties also include law enforcement and community outreach for the State of New Jersey. Dave works with law enforcement and government agencies, as well as community and faith based organizations in order to enhance community relations on a local and State level.
Dave was the Chief for the Outreach and Special Projects Bureau at the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness (OHSP). He was responsible for overseeing special projects and developing private sector outreach programs. As a result of his efforts, New Jersey has developed statewide outreach programs and partnerships with operators of malls, sports/entertainment venues, hotels, casinos, airports, motor coach, motor truck, taxi, limousines associations, correctional facilities, military bases and faith based groups. He helped implement the NJ Interfaith Advisory Council for OHSP. For his outreach efforts, he received the 2011 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award from the NJ Retail Merchants Association and NJ Food Council, the Peace Island Institute (Turkish-Muslim organization) Government Achievement Award in 2012 and the Attorney General's Award for Excellence in Public Outreach in 2013.
Prior to being the Chief for Outreach and Special Projects, he was the OHSP Training Bureau Chief, responsible for development and delivery of counter-terrorism and domestic preparedness training programs. Prior to that position, he was the Chairman of the Domestic Security Preparedness Planning Group which was part of the Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force, under the Office of the Attorney General. The Planning Group was responsible for developing homeland security plans for the State of New Jersey.
Dave served 29 years with the New Jersey State Police before retiring at the rank of Captain and the Executive Officer of the Investigations Section. Dave had a variety of criminal investigation assignments during his career with State Police, including Narcotics, Organized Crime, Arson, Cargo Theft & Robbery, Official Corruption and others. He was cited for his work involving terrorism-related cases that received national attention: the Brinks Armored Car Robbery in Nyack, New York, where four police officers and security guards were killed by members of the Weathermen Underground and the Black Liberation Army. He was also cited for his work on the Trooper Lamonaco homicide investigation and the capture of members of the United Freedom Front, a domestic terrorist group responsible for Tpr. Lamonaco’s death. The United Freedom Front were on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Ten Most Wanted List for a series of bombings and bank robberies that occurred prior to and after the murder of Trooper Lamonaco. All members of the group were captured in what turned out to be the largest manhunt since the Lindbergh kidnapping.
Dave served as the Commandant of the New Jersey State Police Training Academy where he received the “Team/Partnership Achievement Award” from Acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco, the Meritorious Award from New Jersey State Police Superintendent Carson Dunbar and the “Employee Recognition Award” from Attorney General John Farmer for his work in re-engineering the Academy’s curriculum and in-service training program. He was cited by the federal monitors overseeing the Consent Decree on Racial Profiling for his part in designing a plan to develop a positive organizational culture and structure.
Mr. Leonardis received a B.S. from William Paterson College and a Master’s Degree in General Education from Seton Hall University. He was an adjunct professor in the Criminology Department at The College of New Jersey, and taught at Seton Hall University’s Education and Human Resource Departments.