WILTON — The Police Department has moved patrol officer Richard Billian up to a detective position for a year with the help of a $35,000 grant, Lt. Page Reynolds said.

The grant, STOP domestic violence in Wilton Homes, was awarded by the Maine Justice Assistance Council in December. It allows Billian to help Reynolds, who previously was the sole investigator.

Billian’s main focus will be on domestic violence cases, work that is often more than a patrolman can handle, Reynolds said. Along with investigating and follow-up, the department hopes to implement more prevention measures such as sometimes just sitting down and talking, he added.

“I sat down with a teenager who just needed a little motivation. A single mother was struggling raising teenage children with no father figure or level of structure in the house. I mentored him and we haven’t heard from the family in months, where before it was regular 911 calls,” Reynolds said.

The rural town of 4,200 residents has more than its share of calls of this type. The grant, written this summer, reported 149 assaults this year and 7,000 requests for assistance with nearly half a year left.

According to one set of statistics in the grant application, in 2006, one case of gross sexual assault was reported compared to five in 2007. During 2008-2009, 13 cases were reported according to the grant. Part of the work is to also help victims feel more comfortable reporting, Reynolds said.

“Surrounding towns with more population and more police, receive about half the calls that Wilton does,” he said. “Domestic violence is not a one-dimensional word. It’s more than just the typical vision of a couple fighting it out and hurting each other.”

It can also involve the neglect of a child, a parent abused by a child, a sickly grandparent not getting proper care, kids witnessing parents going at it or child abuse, be it sexual, emotional or physical.

The grant allows the department to put someone else in the patrol job Billian had. They are looking to expand their roster, Reynolds said.

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