‘Skeletons In My Closet’: Calgary homicide detective shares lessons gleaned from career investigating crime

‘Skeletons in My Closet’: Calgary homicide detective shares lessons learned from a career fighting crime
WATCH: It's an inside look at policing the public rarely gets to see. A veteran Calgary police officer has written a book about his career investigating some the city's most horrific crimes. Nancy Hixt reports.

As a little boy, Dave Sweet would look at photos of his grandfather in uniform. He was a police officer in New York City in 1904.

That inspired Sweet to follow a career in law enforcement.

More than a century later, he became a homicide detective with the Calgary Police Service.

Over his 20-year career, Sweet’s investigated some horrific cases.

There’s no doubt that kind of work can take its toll. But Sweet has chosen to turn the bad he’s seen into good.

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He’s opening up in a way most police officers never do, and sharing the Skeletons In My Closet in a newly published book.

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“Chapter one starts when I’m just a baby policeman and the book evolves as my career evolves,” Sweet told Global News.

“I’ve gone to cases where I think there’s some kind of lesson that can come as a result of them.”

Sweet calls it an “unconventional police memoir” or true crime that meets Chicken Soup for the Soul.

The book is a partnership.

Sweet brings dark, often intense, stories to the mix. His co-author Sarah Graham adds a softer touch.

“Sarah is actually ‘the soup.’ She is able to take some of the stories and help bridge some of the lessons that come as a result,” Sweet said.

The book doesn’t refer to specific cases. Sweet purposely left names out.  But, people close to the cases will likely recognize some details.

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Dino Mariani met Det. Sweet when his brother Mark Mariani was murdered.

“We felt like it was a family member looking after things on our behalf,” Dino said.

The Mariani family supports the book, and said they appreciate the life lessons that are being shared out of tragic circumstances.

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It’s also a chance for them to learn more about Sweet’s own journey as he deals with difficult cases.

“We’re all excited to read the book and find out more stories about (Sweet) as a person and his career,” Dino said.

Sweet’s motto has always been: “Leave people better than you find them.”

He said that’s what he aspires to do with the cases he works on every day.

He wants to leave behind the same kind of legacy that his grandfather did — the man who inspired him in the first place.

The book Skeletons In My Closet is now available online and in select book stores.