Understanding the Importance of Process Server Safety
- November 18, 2016
- by ServeNow Staff
Process Server Safety: "Think Safety First"
Recorded on November 17, 2016 with Steve Glenn
Safety is your responsibility. In this webinar, Process Servers Association of Colorado (PSACO) President Steve Glenn will share his tips and philosophies about process server safety. This presentation will cover two key parts: attitude and front door experience. Steve will walk through the process of a serve, from pulling up to the house to the time you serve the person or decide that they are not there and leave. This will highlight situational awareness, how to put approach a home and put yourself in safety positions, and how to even exit a porch or deal with gated properties.
Steve Glenn co-founded and has served as the Process Server Association of Colorado President since 2009. He created the PSACO Certification Course, authored the Process Servers Reference Manual and sat on the Colorado Supreme Court Civil Rule sub-committee. Before his career in legal support services, Steve served in the US Navy for 8 years then went on to a 22 year career in sales.
Watch the Webinar
This webinar was presented as a part of the ServeNowEDU Webinar series. To watch other previously recorded webinars and to register for upcoming webinars, visit ServeNowEDU.
Steve recommends making service of process procedural. He stresses that process servers are a disinterested third party, in that they don't have a dog in the fight. From a safety standpoint, that's very important, because as soon as a process server ties themselves emotionally to the service, it becomes a safety issue. Steve reminds process servers that their job is to protect the constitutional rights of these persons.
Ask yourself... is this true, or is it fact or fiction... In regards to service of process, we have the same authority as the sheriff?
Steve asks this question in his safety courses. Unless it is a criminal issue, sheriffs and process servers have equal rights as far as approaching gated communities and service at the workplace abilities. Sheriffs, just like process servers, can be asked to leave the property.
Recipients are becoming more aggressive, in addition to avoiding service. They're threatening physical harm, chasing process servers, assaulting us, and brandishing weapons.
Safety is a concern for process servers across the U.S.
A 60 year old female was severely beaten on a serve. Another process server was chased into his vehicle and pushed into his car. Another man brandished a gun, one mauled by a dog, and another bludgeoned to death.
Under no circumstances should you allow your client to go on a service with you.
Things that influence assault:
- Sometimes the person had a bad day
- Sometimes they watch too much TV and imagine it's like Pineapple Express
- They watch too much YouTube
- They watch All Worked Up (with Bryan McElderry) and other shows where the process server tries to create conflict
There is nothing we can do to eliminate assault of a process server. The consequences of a felony are just a consequence; they won't prevent or eliminate assault on a process server.
The best strategy is to think about how you can reduce the risk of assault.
Think Safety First!
1. Developing techniques to reduce your risk of assault
Think safety first and always have a plan of action. If the job is too risky or puts your servers at risk, you don't have to take the job. It is okay to pass up an attempt if it's for safety's sake. Have the right tools and know how to use them (comfortable shoes, pepper spray, taser, flashlight). Keep your guard up no matter where you are (low income, suburban area, gated community).
Be aware of your surroundings. Check whether the property is dark, whether there are people are on the porch, if there's a gate, a dog, or warning sign. Check whether there's a clear path to the door.
Develop an exit strategy. Look for objects that you could use to fend off animals, places you could hide, and an escape route.
When you get to the front door, ring the doorbell and step back from the door. This is non-verbal communication that makes you appear non-threatening and also gives you a better view of who is answering the door.
Never, ever go into the home. If they invite, make sure you politely decline.
2. Attempt to diffuse aggressive encounters
If you know the person is aggressive, consider calling in a civil assist from law enforcement. Keep in mind that you may have to wait.
Leave your attitude at home. Don't prejudge, don't be the bad cop, and remember that you have no authority to make demands or threats.
3. Document your actions and the actions of others
If anything happens on the serve, document what happened immediately and then call the police and explain what happened.
If your state allows, think about using a recording device, but keep in mind this will also monitor your movements and actions as well. Perspective is key.