Process Servers: How To Deal With Police

process servers and policeAs a process server, there is the chance a subject will say they are going to call the police. Here are several potential situations you may run into and how to deal with them.

This information is originally from the NYSPPSA Conference and was presented by Bernard Hughes.

Situation: The subject says you’re trespassing and you need to leave the property.

Your response should be: 

Leave.  Don’t stay on the property for another second, as once the individual tells you that you are trespassing on private property you can face criminal charges if it’s someone’s private residence. Businesses can be a grey area, but you are better off leaving the property and eliminating any potential liability.

Situation: The subject says you need to leave the property and they are going to call the police.

Your response should be:

Leave the property but make sure to wait for the police officer to arrive. If you don’t stay, the police officer only gets one side of the story and you may need to deal with the situation later. Getting to speak with the officer as the situation occurs will only help you so you can explain why you were at the premises. It may in fact help you, as some officers will be encouraged to assist you in getting the individual served.

If you have been waiting for some time and the police officer doesn’t show, you may want to call the station to check that the officer is not on their way before you leave. Sometimes people say they are going to call and don’t follow through, but on the chance they have you should double check.

If you don’t feel safe waiting near the location of the subject, you can call the local station and explain the situation. You can ask if the responding officer can meet you at another location.

Situation: Your interaction with the subject turns into a physical altercation.

Your response should be:

Defend yourself only to the extent necessary while trying to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. As soon as you can, call the local police.

There have been situations where the police will not file charges. If you truly believe that the situation is grievous enough to warrant charges, you can request for them to call a supervisor. If they refuse or say their supervisor is not available, you can request a copy of the report. Once you have the report you can go to the District Attorney or town attorney for the area where the incident occurred to pursue charges.


Above all in any of these situations, always be professional. Yelling, being rude or escalating the situation will never help your case.

UPDATE 1/18/2016: In response to the feedback of other process services and the experiences of DGR’s own process servers, it should be noted that when individuals say they are going to call the police, this can actually be a good thing for the server. As Randy Mucha from Firefly Legal says “I’m happy to have an uncooperative defendant call the police so they can then verify the caller’s identity and witness the service. Makes for a solid affidavit”.

What has been your experience dealing with police as a process server? Do you have any tips for other servers?

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