What Does Code 4 Mean In Police – These are two common police codes that we hear on popular true crime TV shows or police scanners. Codes 10-20 mean “What is your location?” And the following code means “OK”. These police codes, which usually start with the number 10 and are followed by a second number, are a common form of discreet communication in law enforcement offices. Although there are some common codes, such as 10-4 and 10-20, most law enforcement agencies have different interpretations of their codes.
This can create barriers to communication between agencies. Departments work together on rescue missions, and differences in code interpretation have led to miscommunication between departments. In response, the US Department of Homeland Security recommended a switch to plain English for radio communications. Many departments have switched to plain English for communication and police reporting.
What Does Code 4 Mean In Police
Necessity was the mother of invention, and in 1937, police departments were looking for ways to transmit information over limited radio channels and speed up processing.
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That year the Association of Public Safety Communications Officers (APCO) proposed creating “10 signals” based on a similar code developed by the United States Navy for Morse code. As part of Project APCO 3, the code was tested in the Chicago metropolitan area as a tool for more effective law enforcement in the area.
At the time, the lack of radio frequencies available to law enforcement agencies and the lack of communications put officers in the field at risk. APCO soon sold “thousands” of “10-signal cards” that set an industry standard that was adopted nationally with the Parks Operations Division of the US National Park Service.
Below is a sample of ten codes used by police departments across the country, although the codes vary by department.
As mentioned above, despite having the same ten codes, police codes may vary from department to department. Here are some signs from the Norfolk Police Department in Norfolk, Virginia.
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Over the past decade, many state and law enforcement agencies have been choosing to return to plain English for radio communications.
In 2005, a Missouri police officer told a dispatcher that he saw a Missouri State Highway Patrol vehicle on the side of the road with the door open and closed and no officer inside. After some quick investigation, Missouri police found the Highway Patrol officer in a ditch near his vehicle, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The Missouri officer telegraphed the State Highway Patrol 10-33, which meant “officer down” to local authorities. But for the Highway Patrol, the order simply means, “traffic backup.” When the officer noticed the confusion in the order, the officer used plain English to alert other officers and immediately less than 50 law enforcement officers and other responders. First responders rushed to the scene to save the patrolman’s life.
In addition to this case, New York had severe communication problems during the 9/11 attacks as well as during Hurricane Katrina, prompting the US Department of Homeland Security in 2006 to recommend that the department use plain English.
According to this method of communication, officers would broadcast a “stop” or “shot” to convey the message in any situation.
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Our country’s history and fascination with police codes goes back decades, but it takes a true genius to master and remember and communicate each code in stressful situations. If you want to learn more about police communications, enroll in West Virginia University’s Bachelor of Criminal Justice program today. You will learn the qualities of an effective police officer, including quick thinking, patience, compassion, reasonable actions and a service attitude. Our teaching staff is made up of real working professionals, giving you valuable experience from people in the know, and our inclusive format gives you the flexibility to balance your studies with your busy life. ), and if you’re in law enforcement, you can use them every day. Ten code (10-code), eleven code (11-code), emergency response code, vehicle code, and penalty code are different types of radio shortcodes used by police, fire, and other emergency services.
One thing I found out while doing a little research on this topic is that codes, mostly 10 and 11 codes, are not standardized across departments. It is up to each department which codes they want to use and what those codes mean. Most of the departments seem to stick to the same code, but some minor changes have been made as per the needs of the departments.
Below you will find some 10, 11 basic codes and some emergency response codes. Just remember, they may be a little different in your area… but hopefully this will give you a better understanding and a base to work from.
Here is a very long list of 10 codes. It was essentially designed, from what I’ve read, to protect the authorities by helping them semi-secure the information they transmit. This security is achieved by using a code to obfuscate certain details of the message from the “information”. Obviously with the Internet and modern communication technology, simple protection by obscurity doesn’t really work, but sometimes it does.
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* Many 10 code letters are extended with symbols. These designations help break down codes into more detail, such as 10-7B Cannot Serve, Vacation, or 10-7T Cannot Serve, Meal. So there are many possibilities and they differ from department to department.
With 10 codes, there is a set of 11 codes; These codes often relate to traffic-related items and appear to be more “standard” across departments. However, there are still some differences between the segments.
There are also different types of emergency response codes. Their usage also varies by location and department, although I find them a bit more standardized than the 10-codes.
In addition to the above codes, there are also separate sets of codes, such as below for medical/fire.
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Generally, things like penalty codes or vehicle codes refer to code numbers in one form or another. For example, here in California, if someone is referring to Code 148, they are probably referring to Penal Code 148, Anti-Arrest.
So for many codes, you can check them on your state legislature website. The list below will help you find them for your state.
Pure language code is exactly what it sounds like; An easy way to convey information and communicate. Instead of the confusing code 10, as in 10-7, the person will simply say “not working”. It should be more verbose, but it removes any barriers to communication between departments and agencies. This is especially important during emergencies, where agencies from across the country may be in one area.
Both FEMA, as well as DHS, have made efforts to transition to a plain language coding system. You can read more about this in the FEMA Regular Language Guide.
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Some of the problems with plain language-style code are that it removes the basic security surrounding the call, especially if someone is listening or eavesdropping on the call. It is safer to say yes to “10-66” than to say yes to “suspicious person”, especially if it could cause an alarm or alert the suspect. But that being said, if normal departmental operations are going on and someone uses code that no other department uses, it can cause confusion and even be dangerous.
Are you in law enforcement? 10 What do you think about simple language compared to code system? What does your department use?
If you have any code you would like to add, let us know. We will update/add new information as we get it. Don’t forget to like and share! The purpose of the phonetic alphabet is to enable radio users to be able to pronounce and understand strings of letters and numbers regardless of signal quality. The police alphabet, reserved for American officers, is more concise than military codes and is useful for clearly transmitting information such as names and license plates over the radio.
The police alphabet used by officers is similar to the 1956 ICAO phonetic alphabet used by NATO military organizations.
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The police alphabet originates from an April 1940 bulletin issued by the International Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, or APCO.
Even after the introduction of the NATO alphabet, local and state police departments continued to use the APCO police alphabet to transmit information such as license plates over the radio. In fact, the police alphabet can be shorter and shorter than the military alphabet.
Today, departments as far away as Houston and New York have adopted a variant of the APCO alphabet, although there are some differences between them.
Letters like D’s and B’s can sound like fuzzy radio traffic. Using the police alphabet makes it clear what you’re trying to say and reduces mistakes by clarifying letters.
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Some regions share scanner traffic between agencies,