Process servers, and in turn the attorneys who hire them, have a few main concerns when doing their jobs. Some of these involve safety issues, false accusations of unprofessional or inappropriate behavior, and claims of improper services. Process servers often rely on completing accurate affidavits of service to solve some of these issues, but the use of a body camera can provide evidence of valid service as well as a nearly indisputable record of the behavior of the parties involved.
The attorneys who hire process servers obviously have an interest in seeing the service completed as well as having a complete and accurate record of such service. By hiring a process server who uses a body camera when completing service, the attorney is provided with additional proof of service against another party’s potential motion to quash for improper or incomplete service. Process server body cameras also provide additional protections to attorneys who may have claims made against them for improper service techniques.
Attorneys will benefit from hiring a process server that employs the use of body cameras by being provided with immediate reassurance that the server was active on the job, performing their services appropriately, and by having evidence in hand that service was complete beyond what can be established with an affidavit of service.
While there are very strong positives associated with hiring a process server that employs the use of body cameras, there are some potential drawbacks. It is likely that an individual being served may see a body camera and in turn behave appropriately, submit to service and not respond to the service attempt with violence. However, there will be a subset of people who may have the opposite reaction. For one, they may retreat and refuse service when/if they notice the camera, or they may, more worrisomely, react violently by trying to take the camera from the process server.
Another potential downside to body camera use is that you must retain the video recording for the length of the case in order for it to have the intended benefit of additional proof of service. Unfortunately with our legal system, it is very possible for cases to span the length of several years, causing you to maintain expensive data storage and backup as well as the need to follow-up on the status of open cases. This increases not only costs, but effort as well.
Whether or not you believe body cameras are a positive thing for process servers, there is an indication that this is the direction the industry is moving in as a whole, with several states having proposed legislation making the use of body cameras mandatory for process servers. With this in mind, it is best to refine your practice to work towards hiring process servers who use body cameras and incorporating video evidence of completed service into your routine practice. This will allow you to stay on top of current trends and to market your practice as technologically progressive.