New detective at BUPD brings experience

NATALIE SMITH/ NEWS CO-EDITOR

She turned in her badge to the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Police Department in May. Her 35-year career had come to a close. It was a chance for rest on her retirement plan.

But Diane Sweeney does not rest.

She spent her entire three-month retirement working on her doctoral degree in emergency management.

But with a call from Butler University Chief of Staff Ben Hunter, she was back on the force. This time on a different college campus.

Sweeney is the Butler University Police Department’s newest detective.

She began two weeks ago. Two cases already came to her, and one is solved.

“Investigating is my passion, out of everything,” Sweeney said. “I’ve investigated every crime there is.”

Hunter, who Sweeney has known for years, recruited her to decrease the workload done by Detective Bruce Allee, Assistant Chief of Police Bill Weber said.

“She has expertise that I’m still learning,” Weber said.

That expertise was gained at IUPUI, where Sweeney started in 1979. She began as a cadet and was hired as a full time officer in 1981. Two years later she became  a detective and headed investigations, records and training. Sweeney became a sergeant, lieutenant and a captain during her time there.

Sweeney said the difference between working at a mainly commuter campus, such as IUPUI, and a campus oriented around residential and Greek life, such as Butler, is the campus itself.

“IUPUI is an urban campus,” Sweeney said. “There’s more activity and frequency of crime than Butler. Butler is more secluded.”

She did not come into the field of policing traditionally.

Sweeney grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father was in the Army Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force). Sweeney and her family moved to Cape Canaveral, Florida when her father was stationed there.

Before college, Sweeney followed in her father’s footsteps and enlisted in the service. When she left the Army in 1973, she moved to Indianapolis, where she’s been ever since.

She enrolled at IUPUI on the GI Bill. Sweeney had trouble deciding what she wanted to do with her degree.

She started in computer science and considered engineering, but did not pass calculus.

She finally went to her advisor with one goal: to have a piece of paper saying she graduated. Her GI Bill was running out, and she had no credits toward a specific degree.

Her only options were criminology or liberal arts. Criminology did not require her to take a foreign language, so she said it was the obvious choice.

A choice she said she is glad she made.

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