Process serving over all is really not a dangerous job; but there is always a chance of
something going wrong. It is just the way the world is now. I keep my eyes open
and am aware of my surroundings. One a daily basis, I use common sense and have
certain safety precautions that I use to the point that they are habit.
I ask questions about the person I am serving. Is it a potentially dangerous
situation? Are they aware of any violence or record of VPO’s or Restraining
Orders ? What do I need to know about?
If I am serving divorce papers, I STRONGLY recommended do not deliver the papers
when the wife and or kids are home. You have no idea how the person is going to
react. Don’t put others at risk . ( I always ask the best time for service and
also does the spouse know it is coming?) If both parties know about the
divorce, it makes a big difference. When surprised, I have had people simply become
sullen, some burst into tears, one recently almost passed out. Ask questions.
Get information from the attorney giving you the documents.
I am always polite. It is not necessary to act like a “bad ass” even if you are serving the “bad guy”. No matter how bad of day I may have, I do my best to always present a good personality, be someone with a cheerful attitude. I always dress business casual when working. A smile will get a door opened. I am not there to be confrontational . Remember too, you may have to serve the guy again at some other point. If he is going to remember you, you want to be remembered as a messenger or delivery man, NOT as the guy who changed his life. Remember to “kill” them with kindness. You are not there to judge.
I have been cursed at. It happens. I am not seven years old. Names do not affect me. I do
not stay around and get into an argument . I turn around and walk off. I do not have to have the last word. (I also remember I am getting paid for what I delivered. I have money and he is no longer my problem).
My cell phone is always in my hand, it is a common sense.
If you are an attorney or paralegal reading this PLEASE forewarn your process server if you believe there is a potential of violence.
If it is a domestic case, I always try serving the person at their place of employment. They are less likely to act up in front of their employer.
When serving I don’t put myself in a compromising position. My car is always
pointed toward the exit. I will even park on the street to avoid backing out. I always know my exit. Again, it is all about common sense.
I do my best not to serve after dark, in a bad neighborhood, that is again about common sense. After dark in a good neighborhood, the person to be served may not open the door, it being after dark.