LAKELAND, Fla. -- Sgt. Gary Gross doesn’t just play a cop on television - he’s a real-life Lakeland police officer.
But on the side, he provides props and serves as a technical adviser for movies and television shows, and even works as an actor.
Gross stumbled into this side gig in 2009, and since then, has been an actor or technical advisor in more than 30 productions.
As a technical adviser, Gross reviews scripts to correctly depict police jargon. He also designs sets to accurately portray crime scenes, police chases and other scenarios involving law enforcement.
His latest film, The Florida Project, was shot in Kissimmee. It's receiving rave reviews and Oscar buzz. The biggest name in the movie, Willem Dafoe, recently received a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor.
“There was no goofing around,” Gross said of working with Defoe. “When they said action, he was all business and into his scenes.”
In some movies, including The Florida Project, he has speaking roles.
Gross is no stranger to being on camera. As Lakeland PD's public information officer, he is interviewed regularly.
“I'm just a lucky guy,” he said. “I'm in the right place at the right time, and I enjoy doing it.”