Two years ago, police Sgt. Tia Pearson Miller was just another officer on the beat. As covert and stealthy as one of her undercover cohorts.
But she was everything producers from The Learning Channel were looking for when they came scouting for a new show—tough, no-nonsense, an Iraq War veteran who rode a motorcycle in her leisure time and practiced strength-training and kickboxing. So they made her a centerpiece of the reality television show “Police Women of Cincinnati,” and now she’s practically a household name and an equally recognizable face—at least, for the show’s 1.3 million weekly viewers.
“People keep coming up to me, asking for autographs,” she says. “I have new respect for celebrities. I would never approach a celebrity now because it can be so annoying. Sometimes.”
At work these days, the Hollywood era appears to be over. TLC shifted its focus to policewomen of other cities, but Miller turned her TV life into a new career as communications liaison for the police department, going out and talking with young adults who feel trapped by the urban street-scene. “I try to be the voice for the parents,” she says. “I listened to my mom, but whenever a star said it, I really listened.”
She can also offer a lesson on education. In May, she walked across the stage at Commencement after earning her master’s degree in human resources, a subject that’s totally different from police work, she says, and bound to keep her away from the TV cameras.
“Life has gone on,” she says, “but it will probably never be the same.”