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Former Metro detective hopes films can help to end violence

Updated June 14, 2021 - 11:18 am

Tamia Dow retired in 2012 from the Metropolitan Police Department as a detective who specialized in domestic violence cases.

Now, nine years later, she’s developed a second career as a filmmaker.

“Fictionalized dramas, but they are educational dramas,” Dow said of her films. “I’m pulling from my years of experience. I worked cases (as an officer), so the elements in my films are elements of things that have happened.”

The Army veteran, chaplain, Chaparral High School and UNLV graduate has made multiple short movies since 2018. She tackles tough issues such as the well-being of veterans, mental health, sex trafficking, domestic violence and child cyberstalking. Titles include “Toxic Love,” “Turn Back Time,” “Meet Me After School” and “Why Should I Care?” Up next is a post-apocalyptic narrative called “Angel on the Roadside.”

Each film, like her policing career, is aimed at helping others.

“My ultimate goal is I really want to elevate people to a different level,” she said. “This is my thing. I believe that violence is not what we are here for. I believe that love is what we are here for.”

Inspired by #MeToo

Dow started with the Police Department as a patrol officer in 1989. She worked for several years in the Naked City area of Las Vegas near The Strat.

She eventually was promoted to detective and worked domestic violence cases for the last eight years of her career. It was a rewarding, frustrating, at times heartbreaking task that left her a witness to the horrible outcomes of domestic violence.

“If you are a police officer you generally get a call three to four times a shift of domestic violence, depending on what shift you are on,” she said, adding “we know that in domestic violence, when people get killed, it is when they are trying to leave.”

Dow traveled the world for two years after retirement. She returned to Las Vegas and started to ponder what she was going to do for a second career.

“I’m a woman of God, and I believe the Lord loads up our tool bag for a reason,” she said. “We go through every experience we go through in life for a reason. So I always say, ‘God, how am I supposed to use this? What do you want me to do with this?’ ”

Her adventure into filmmaking soon followed when the #MeToo movement gained prominence in America in late 2017. Dow was troubled by the accounts of actresses abused by directors and people in power in the filmmaking industry.

“There were a lot of actresses who came out and said they had these ‘director’s couch’ type of situations where they had to do whatever with the director in order to get their part,” Dow said. “I saw an online comment from an actor: ‘The only way we can solve this is to get more filmmakers. More female filmmakers.’ When he said that, I was like, ‘Hmmm.’ ”

Then, in 2018, she was challenged by a friend to participate in the national 48 Hour Film Project. This involves a team making a movie in just 48 hours. She started as an actress, then received another challenge from local filmmaker Joe Lujan to make her own movie.

“Hey, I’m up to a challenge,” she thought. “Obviously, right?”

She’s since learned the hardscrabble path that every director faces to make a movie work. Coming up with the money, people, equipment and editing require unending attention.

“We’ve been making them both out of our own pockets,” Dow said. “I find very creative ways to make it happen.”

Dow does it under the business Triple 8 Spirit Productions with her business partner, Stephen Cibo, who runs Action Shot Productions.

“She’s a go-getter,” Cibo said of Dow. “She’s relentless.”

Dow’s films have been shown and recognized at multiple festivals, including the Silver State Film Festival. She’ll be traveling to Spain this fall for another film festival in Barcelona.

”What I really enjoy about filmmaking is I love being able to tell a story and to show someone how they can be victorious, regardless of what situation they are in,” Dow said. “The reason is I do all of this is for the glory of God. God has seen me through.”

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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