Diane Kilcullen apparently had an ongoing struggle with substance abuse problems before her husband, Schenectady’s assistant police chief, reported her to authorities last week.
Kilcullen’s battle with addiction prompted her family to seek inpatient treatment for the troubled woman, according to Saratoga County prosecutor James Murphy III. She was scheduled to leave next Sunday when a domestic incident with Assistant Police Chief Brian Kilcullen at their Milton home on April 5 prompted him to call 911 and ultimately report her alleged cocaine use to deputies of the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department.
“I think the family had been dealing with this for some time,” Murphy said.
Diane Kilcullen, 50, of Acland Boulevard, was charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree attempted assault, a violation, on April 5. She was scheduled to appear in Milton Town Court Tuesday, but her case was adjourned until the substance she possessed can be tested.
Murphy said the incident was prompted after Brian Kilcullen realized his wife hadn’t picked up the couple’s daughter as planned that afternoon. Fearing something was amiss, he went to the couple’s home and confronted his wife about what he suspected to be her ongoing drug use.
At one point, Murphy said, the assistant chief tried to wrest the substance away from his wife. She then bit his hand, causing him pain but no serious injury.
Kilcullen’s defense attorney, Kurt Mausert, said the charges only involve Diane Kilcullen and should not be viewed as a reflection of the city’s assistant chief.
“This is Diane’s responsibility and she’s going to deal with it in the court system,” Mausert said. “Her husband had no involvement whatsoever in her allegedly possessing a controlled substance.”
Likewise, Murphy said his discussion with Brian Kilcullen outlined a long and involved effort to help his wife overcome her substance abuse issues. He said calling authorities on his wife was a difficult decision Kilcullen thought he had to make.
“In my opinion, he did what he needed to do,” Murphy said. “Certainly, its not easy to call the police on your own wife.”
Schenectady investigators indicated they were summoned by Saratoga County deputies around 5:30 p.m., shortly after Brian Kilcullen called deputies to the home. Schenectady’s Office of Professional Standards launched an investigation into the incident, prompting Police Chief Mark Chaires and Capt. Stephen LaVare to talk with the deputy on the scene and Saratoga County Sheriff James Bowen.
Attempts to interview Diane Kilcullen as part of the Schenectady investigation were unsuccessful, police said. However, the preliminary investigation by the Sheriff’s Department did not indicate any wrongdoing on the part of her husband, according to city police.
City officials declined to discuss the case outside of details included in a short release issued by police late Tuesday afternoon. Mayor Brian U. Stratton wouldn’t comment on the arrest and said the case is in the hands of Saratoga County investigators.
“It’s in their jurisdiction,” he said.
Murphy said Diane Kilcullen was ordered to have “no negative contact” with her husband during her arraignment last week and continues to live in the household. He said the case will likely be adjourned until she can complete inpatient rehabilitation treatment.
“It’s very likely that she may be candidate for misdemeanor drug treatment court,” he said.
Brian Kilcullen joined the force in 1994 and has worked his way up the ranks. The Schenectady native was promoted to lieutenant in 2001 and later named department spokesman.
In October 2008, Police Chief Mark Chaires announced Kilcullen as one of the department’s assistant chiefs. More specifically, he placed Kilcullen in charge of the investigative division — one that had been highly criticized for unusually low solve rates for serious crimes and deep supervisory problems.
His appointment was lauded by Police Commissioner Wayne Bennett, who credited Kilcullen with living up to the ideals of his profession. The commissioner described Kilcullen as someone who takes it personally when officers under his command fall short.
“He will bring strong support to Chief Mark Chaires in his quest to enhance the professionalism of the department,” Bennett said following the appointment.