Listening in on police transmissions, and not sure what all those codes are you keep hearing? In this guide, we'll tell you everything you need to know about police 10 codes and how to interpret them.\n\n\n\nWhat are Police 10 Codes?\n\n\n\nWhen police, government agencies, or other law enforcement communicate via two-way radios, they use a set of codes called police 10 codes. These police codes are numbers that begin with"10" and equal words and phrases that are frequently used. Many civilians who use CB radios use a variation of the codes because of how well-known they are. If you feel you already know the codes, you might be surprised. Whether you are wanting to listen with police scanners, understand officers talking to dispatch while you are stopped, or you are interested in entering the emergency personnel services, it is best to know some of the most basic codes officers use.\n\n\n\nHow Police 10 Codes Originated\n\n\n\nPolice 10 codes have been around for several decades, mainly to help keep communication streamlined. However, it was originally to ensure secrecy. This is because the codes originated in 1940, just before World War 2 hit America. The first official set of codes was released by the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials, otherwise known as the APC. The publication helped to reduce how much police officials had to say while on the two-way radios.\n\n\n\nThese codes allow police to communicate with dispatchers, other officers, jails, correctional facilities, hospitals, and other local support with a degree of privacy. Further, people who know the codes will understand some of what the officers are saying. But many do not understand the meaning of the codes. Generally, this prevents the general public from fully understanding the discussions going on. This has changed only slightly since the original codes were published. In 1974, the APC standardized the messages and expanded the use.\n\n\n\nAn Official Set?\n\n\n\nThe big question surrounds whether or not there is an official set of police 10 codes. Unfortunately, there is not a true official or universal set. While the codes have a general meaning, the particular code may vary from state to state. Each jurisdiction needs to be able to communicate internally. But rarely do different jurisdictions need to communicate with each other. The original codes were created to give officers and other public officials the means to communicate with each other concisely. So, when different jurisdictions communicate or work together, they can create their own communication method.\n\n\n\nSo why vary the codes if jurisdictions need to communicate? Basically, the answer is fairly simple; communication must be clear and not give a measure of error. So, if answering a call, dispatchers need to be able to give directions to the police without having to refer to a list of codes. Many police organizations, including the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Department of Homeland Security, have begun to discontinue the use of the police 10 codes. This practice began in 2005 and is becoming more common as police and dispatchers are finding it easier to use English phrases instead of codes. But the only downside to this is the fact anyone listening to the airwaves will clearly understand what is going on.\n\n\n\nPolice 10 Code Variations \n\n\n\nUsing the original police 10 codes as a base, a few variations were created over the years. Examples of these variations include the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Port Authority Police. CHP uses a variation called the 11 codes and the Port Authority uses 8 codes. Most emergency services such as the EMS and fire departments have their own variations as well.\n\n\n\nA Quick List of Police 10 Codes\n\n\n\nThe following is the current list of the most commonly used police 10 codes. While they do vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, these are the original meanings. When officers use the police 10 codes, they will sometimes not say 10. Instead, they will substitute the word \u201ccode\u201d for the number 10. For example, instead of saying 10-12, or "standby," they will just say \u201ccode twelve.\u201d With that said, some codes are used regularly and people immediately recognize them. This includes code 10-4, which means the message is received.\n\n\n\n10-00 = Officer down, all patrols respond 10-0 = Caution 10-1 = Reception poor 10-2 = Reception good 10-3 = Stop transmitting 10-4 = Message received, understood 10-5 = Repay message 10-6 = Change channel 10-7 = Out of service 10-7A = Out of service, home 10-7B = Out of service, personal 10-8 = In service 10-9 = Repeat message 10-10 = Off duty 10-10A = Off duty, home 10-11 = Identify frequency 10-12 = Visitor(s) present 10-13 = Weather and road advice 10-14 = Citizen w\/suspect 10-15 = Prisoner in custody 10-16 = Pick up prisoner 10-17 = Request for gasoline 10-18 = Equipment exchange 10-19 = Return(ing) to station 10-20 = Location \n\n\n\nPolice Scanner Codes\n\n\n\nIn addition to the Police 10 Codes, there are scanner codes used by both the police and emergency personnel. An example of the scanner codes includes \u201ccode blue,\u201d which means there is an officer or bus in trouble. However, code blue can also indicate a medical emergency such as cardiac or respiratory arrest in a hospital.\n\n\n\n505 = Reckless driving507 = Public nuisance 510 = Speeding or racing vehicles 586 = Illegal parking 594 = Malicious mischief 595 = Runaway car 604 = Throwing missiles 647 = Lewd conduct 653M = Threatening phone calls5150 = Mental case10851 = Auto theft \/ stolen vehicle10852 = Tampering with vehicle20001 = Hit and run \u2013 Felony20002 = Hit and run \u2013 Misdemeanor20007 = Hit and run \u2013 Unattended21958 = Drunk pedestrian on the roadway22350 = Speeding22500 = Illegal parking23101 = Drunk driving \u2013 with injuries23102 = Drunk driving23103 = Reckless driver23104 = Reckless driver23105 = Driver under the influence of narcotics23109 = Auto Racing23110 = Person throwing objects at vehicles23151 = Drunk driving \u2013 with injuries23152 = Drunk driver\n\n\n\nFirst Responder Codes\n\n\n\nEmergency Medical Services (EMS) and fire departments also have a set of codes they use during their calls. While they also use some police codes, they have a small set of unique calls dispatchers and first responders use. These are also what dispatchers use to determine the level of speed and intensity with which the medical personnel respond to a scene or the hospital.\n\n\n\nCode 10 = Critical trauma case Code 20 = Acute trauma case Code 30 = Trauma case Code 40 = Serious case (IV started) Code 50 = Basic transport (not serious) Code N = Newsworthy event\n\n\n\nAcronyms Commonly Used by Cops\n\n\n\nOfficers are also known to use acronyms while conducting police activity to further shorten communication. These acronyms are important to know because many times they will write them on the citations they hand out. Here is a list of common acronyms and abbreviations.\n\n\n\nADW = Assault with a Deadly WeaponAKA = Also Known AsADW = Assault with a Deadly WeaponAG = Attorney GeneralATF = Alcohol Tobacco & FirearmsB & E \u2013 Breaking and EnteringBOLO = Be On the LookoutCHP = California Highway PatrolCRT = Code Response TeamCI = Confidential InformantCO = Commanding OfficerDA = District AttorneyDEA = Drug Enforcement AgencyDL = Driver\u2019s LicenseDOA = Dead On ArrivalDOC = Department of CorrectionsDMV = Department of Motor VehiclesDEA = Drug Enforcement AdministrationDOB = Date Of BirthDUI = Driving Under the InfluenceDWI = Driving While IntoxicatedETA = Estimated Time of ArrivalEOW = End of WatchFBI = Federal Bureau of InvestigationFTA = Failure To AppearGTA \u2013 Grand Theft AutoOIS = Officer-Involved ShootingPD = Police DepartmentPnP = Party in PlayRHD = Robbery Homicide DivisionSRT = Special Response TeamVIN = Vehicle Identification Number\n\n\n\nPhonetic Alphabet \n\n\n\nAlso, numerical code is not the only type of code used in radio communication. Whether it is emergency personnel, military, or simply civilians using CB radios, the phonetic code helps clarify spelling. Indeed, the phonetic alphabet was originally designed by the IPA (International Phonetic Association) to create a standardized representation of the spoken English language. It has since been used to describe subjects, property, or locations when communicating with other people.\n\n\n\nMilitary Phonetic\n\n\n\nWhen it comes to spelling names or telling a dispatcher the plate number on a car, many police officers use the military phonetic alphabet. This alphabet gives names and phonetic spelling for every letter of the alphabet.\n\n\n\nA = Alpha (AL fah)B = Bravo (BRAH VOH)C = Charlie (CHAR lee)D = Delta (DELL tah)E = Echo (ECK oh)F = Foxtrot (FOKS trot)G = Golf (GOLF)H = Hotel (hoh TELL)I = India (IN dee ah)J = Juliett (JEW lee ETT)K = Kilo (KEY loh)L = Lima (LEE mah)M = Mike (MIKE)N = November (no VEM ber)O = Oscar (OSS cah)P = Papa (pah PAH)Q = Quebec (keh BECK)R = Romeo (ROW me oh)S = Sierra (see AIR rah)T = Tango (TANG go)U = Uniform (YOU nee formV = Victor (VIK tah)W = Whiskey (WISS key)X = X-Ray (ECKS RAY)Y = Yankee (YANG key)Z = Zulu (ZOO loo) \n\n\n\nCivilian Phonetic Alphabet\n\n\n\nSimilar to the military phonetic alphabet, the civilian phonetic alphabet uses words to clarify letters of the alphabet when spelling words aloud. It is common to hear or speak these words while on the phone with companies to ensure correct information is passed.\n\n\n\nA = AdamB = BoyC = CharlesD = DavidE = EdwardF = FrankG = GeorgeH = HenryI = IdaJ = JohnK = KingL = LincolnM = MaryN = NoraO = OceanP = PaulQ = QueenR = RobertS = SamT = TomU = UnicornV = VictorW = WilliamX = X-RayY = YellowZ = Zebra\n\n\n\nWhile civilians using the CB radio rarely use the police 10 codes, it is good to know what police are saying if you are listening in on amateur radios. To conclude, police use a variety of codes, including codes for designating different units and patrols. Therefore, you may not understand completely what is going on and where, but with this knowledge, you can have a better idea.