Many people have asked the process servers at Oklahoma Judicial Process Servers whether or not serving as a professional process server in Oklahoma is a dangerous job. With a few exceptions, it is not nearly as dangerous as many people think, though few jobs come with absolutely no risk of some sort. However, there are some very helpful tips that can prove invaluable to those who are process servers in Oklahoma, as they strive to remain extra safe while on the job.
One of the most obvious things any good process server can do is to keep himself or herself in excellent physical condition. If a conflict ever arises where a process server must defend himself or herself, having extra strength and an ability to run without tiring can come in quite handy indeed! Investing in a gym membership or simply lifting weights, riding a bicycle, etc., can prove invaluable in confrontational situations.
Having skills in basic self-defense can also prove to be very useful, as can carrying such weapons as pepper spray, stun guns, and guns, provided you are licensed, trained, and authorised to do so. Knowing how and when to properly defend yourself is crucial, as each process server has the right to protect himself or herself from harm. No one has the right to hurt you as an officer of the court in Oklahoma.
Few, if indeed any, serves are ever worth a gun battle, and it is important to know when to call the police for assistance. If someone becomes violent or verbally threatens a process server in any way, a person should take great caution and use discretion when deciding whether or not to use force. If at all possible, contacting the city police or county sheriff’s department can resolve these types of issues, and thus it is important to have a good working relationship built up with law enforcement officials. But wait – didn’t we say that working as a process server in Oklahoma was relatively safe?
Most people and places a process server delivers papers to are fairly harmless. It is important to inquire in advance from your client as to any potential violent history a person one is about to serve might have. In such cases, a process server can take extra care or can even bring along backup (i.e., a spotter). A vast majority of cases, especially those at businesses, take place without incident.
If a person you are serving ever gets upset and mistakenly associates you as being the one who has filed the legal case, one of the best things a process server in Oklahoma can do is to try to diffuse the situation and downplay his or her role. Such phrases like, “Hey. I’m just the delivery boy,” or, “Think of me like the mailman. You don’t get upset at the mailman [or mailwoman] when he brings you the mail, right? Well, I’m not involved in this case in at all, so why be upset with me?” These simple phrases can potentially diffuse anger, frustration, and other negative emotions people may have toward a process server who has brought them bad news.
Another effective technique to help keep process servers safe is to always let someone know where you are going to be and when. This is just basic common sense, yet if something ever happened then someone would know where you were and when. Keep in contact with your employer, a spouse, friend, etc. It might be somewhat time consuming, but one just never knows when it can help you out!
Bullet proof vests are yet another idea for added protection, though these are often what most process servers would consider overkill. Police officers often wear these to help protect them from dangerous criminals, but most or all of the cases process servers handle do not involve criminal complaints. If a gun is involved, it is better to get police assistance than to try to handle the matter yourself. Besides, bullet proof vests cannot stop many kinds of bullets, thus placing inherent limitations on their effectiveness.
Sometimes wearing an officer of the court badge and having your license on you can prove to be a helpful deterrent. Having a pair of handcuffs on your belt can also help give people the impression that you are not someone to mess with. Most people have no idea what an officer of the court in Oklahoma is – a process server – and they are more likely to focus on your handcuffs, the stun gun you are wearing on your belt, etc.
Process servers should use the aforementioned approach with caution, as doing these things could also make neighbors, colleagues, and the person you are trying to serve much more suspicious of you. Indeed, they might choose not to answer the door, neighbors might provide less assistance, etc. This is a judgment call that each person must make for himself or herself, and wise discretion is the key.
Sometimes the “innocent approach” is the most effective, nonthreatening method. The less threat you pose and the more innocent, unsuspecting you look, the better the results you are often likely able to get. If people do not feel like you are out to get them or cause them harm, they might be more likely to open the door and accept the papers. Once again, each situation is different and requires careful discretion and careful consideration of all factors involved in the case.
Overall, working as a professional process server in Oklahoma is a very noble profession. An outstanding process server can help speed up the justice process for people, and can even help provide legal protection from harm (i.e., serving VPOs). The field of process serving does not have to be dangerous or something you should fear. Your disability insurance adjustor should not increase your rate, either.
When compared to other professions, just think of how many hardworking, dedicated, underpaid professional teachers and principals are assaulted by unruly students or parents. Likewise, people have shot doctors who perform abortions in Oklahoma and elsewhere, so even physicians are not exempt. Convenience store clerks and bank officials can get robbed and even killed, too. Thus, when looking at process serving as a long term profession of choice, it’s relatively safe!
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