As long as they are not impersonating police officers, there really are no laws against process servers wearing badges in Louisiana. However, it is important to remember that all states are different. That said, many private process servers use badges. So, many of us are allowed to wear them, but is it really a good idea in practice?
Good Reasons Not to Wear a Badge
There are different schools of thought when it comes to whether or not a process server should wear a badge while on duty. It really is important to consider the context in which it is being worn. After all, here are a couple of things that can really go wrong:
- Dodgers Will See You Coming
When we are dealing with a target that is hard to pin because he or she is avoiding us, wearing a badge will announce our presence, taking away the surprise factor that often helps to get the job done.
If you were a defendant evading service, you most certainly wouldn’t answer the door to a person wearing a badge. That is why it is easier to approach a nervous defendant without any physical sign of authority or any association with law enforcement.
As a matter of fact, it is usually best for us to dress down in jeans and a t-shirt to blend into the surroundings and not set off any red flags. Drawing attention to ourselves will only tip off those attempting to thwart any service attempts.
- You Will Look Like a Police Officer
In some neighborhoods, there is rampant distrust of the police, and if those in the area suspect that you are a law enforcement officer, you may receive unwanted, negative attention.
This can quickly become a seriously dangerous situation for any process server. The anti-cop rhetoric that has spread throughout the country may be misdirected at an innocent process server sporting a badge. Many servers state that for this reason alone, they will not wear them.
Good Reasons for Wearing a Badge
There is another side to the story, however. There are many positive aspects of wearing a badge. Here are a few to consider:
- Getting into Restricted Places
Sometimes, those that are afraid to open the door, for reasons outside of being sued, are relieved to see a badge as a form of identification. This is especially true in affluent areas where residents are automatically suspicious of those they don’t know.
Badges also come in handy when access is needed to get to the person that is to be served. Gatekeepers, doormen, and those in the leasing offices of apartment complexes feel much more comfortable knowing that you are not a threat before allowing you in, since, legally, process servers can enter secure or gated properties without breaking the law.
Another advantage of badges is easily gaining admission to hospital rooms, jails, prisons, and banks in order to perform your job.
- Staying Safe in Unfamiliar Territory
A badge doesn’t specifically protect a process server, but it does identify him or her and what he or she does for a living. This keeps situations from becoming dangerous in unknown places. For example, in rural areas, trespassers can be shot on sight, no questions asked. In the past, folks in the country have claimed that they didn’t know the “intruder” was a process server.
In rough neighborhoods, some process servers have feared for their lives and feel that having a badge, as well as body armor and a gun, has protected them countless times.
Wearing a Badge is a Personal Choice
Whether or not a process server wears a badge is a personal choice, and it mostly relates to the person that he or she is serving at a given time. As long as the process server adheres to his or her state’s Rules of Civil Procedure, wearing a badge is simply a matter of personal preference.
Give Us a Call
Do you need a process server in Louisiana that can blend in when needed and proudly flash identification when necessary? Trust Metairie Process Servers for all your legal paperwork delivery needs. Scott Frank and his team will do whatever it takes to serve your paperwork promptly and efficiently. Give us a call today!
Donna Lee Hellmann is a New Orleans-area copywriter. The foregoing article has simply been presented for informational purposes only. She, and those at Metairie Process Servers, are not attorneys. If you seek further information about this topic, contact an attorney in your local area.