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  • "10" Codes

    We too use the Federal 10 codes, but often work with agencies that use a different 10 code system, or even a combination of 10 and 11 codes. For us, a 10-32 is a man (or woman) with a gun. For a different agency, 10-32 means clear of warrants. 10-97 us - radio check, them - arrived on scene (or was it enroute?)

    We also use the alpha, bravo, charlie ... but work with some creative individuals who use Orange, Universe, or anything ese they think of off the top of their heads.

    The highway patrol uses a lot of 11 codes, and, some "codes" are simply abbreviations of local penal or vehicle codes. If someone is 14-6, their license is suspended (CVC14601). If they are 152 ... it's CVC23152, drunk driving.

    Well, I'm 10-8 my 10-6A is over and I'm about to go 10-42, 10-76 my "D." (Clear of my paperwork and about to get off duty, enroute home.)
    I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather ... not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

  • #2
    "10" Codes

    I saw this topic sort of started in another post, but...
    What is Y'all's opinion of 10 codes??

    As a Federal Officer I sometimes go to other cities/states on special assignments. Once there we find that most states (and some cities) have different codes. Making it difficult to get the correct meaning. Should we be the same nation wide... You would think so, but sometimes we need to talk to the local jurisdiction we are assigned. So we tend to go with the locals.

    1. Why use them?? everyone knows what they are

    2. Shorten the transmittion time??? 10-4=OK whats shorter (who cares..)

    3. As a former dispatcher for a small cities I often noticed "Rookies" loved them. As they got time on the road. They began to go to clear speach more.

    Just interested in others opinions, both, LEO and citizen
    Walk slow, Talk low, and Don't say Too Much.

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    • #3
      I think that 10 codes are great! You can say a lot more w/ a lot less by using 10 codes and, the less common codes at least, are not known by most of the public. I just wish those darn things were universal!
      This post has been rated PG-13 for your viewing pleasure.

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      • #4
        I agree. They're great. All of our agencies use the same codes except for 1 agency that uses a few different ones.
        FREE Website Development for Law Enforcement
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        • #5
          Generally, I think clear speech is best. And basically for the exact reason that you mentioned. Various agencies use different codes for different things.

          Now, this isn't really a problem the fewer codes that you use, but when you primarily use codes, then it gets confusing in any mutual aid situations.

          Many Fire and EMS dept's also use codes, but they use different ones than the po-po. IN situations, such as floods, plane crashes, tornados, HAZ-MAT, stuff like that, where you have local FIRE/EMS/Police working together and trying to comunicate, the codes actually get in the way of communication.

          Also, in a stressful situation, those codes can fall right out of your head. I heard about a case of an officer who worked for one agency for years and then went to work for another one that used different ten codes. He got into a scrape and was shouting info over the radio, needed help, etc. But in his state of mind, he reverted back to the ten codes that he was more familiar with.

          I've seen military guys do the same. Some agencies still use Adam, Boy, Charles....sometimes you can tell when former military guys get a little excited, they revert to Alpha, Bravo, Charlie....because it's what's been drilled into their head the best.

          I DO believe that there should be codes for certian things, such as warrants, for security reasons. But these codes should be changed every now and then to be effective. It doesn't matter what code you use for "warrant check" or "Your subject has an outstanding warrant", the BG's will soon pick up on it.

          I also like the west coast sytem of officer status codes. The Code One through Four system integrates well to hand and arm signals. An old shift I was on used them for just that.

          So, there is definately a place for codes, whether they be ten codes (10-19) or "code" codes (Code 4) or "signal" codes (Signal 10) or even a combination of them all. Use what there is a need to have a code for, take what is useful. But too much of it can get in the way of communication.

          "I'm 10-23 at the 10-50 J2. 10-22 the 10-52 and 10-78 a 10-51 and I'll be 10-58 10-20 10-3"

          OR

          "I'm on scene with the TA. No injuries. Disregard EMS. Send a wrecker. I'll be here directing traffic."

          [ 11-06-2001: Message edited by: Sparky ]
          -Sparky

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          • #6


            [ 07-17-2002: Message edited by: Legal Assistant ]
            This post has been rated PG-13 for your viewing pleasure.

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            • #7
              For the people saying that they would rather switch to regular speech from the 10-codes, I can tell you right now as a regular user of radios and radio frequencies that often times it can be hard to hear what someone is saying, and in emergencies for police officers this could be even worse, and 10-codes have a better chance of being heard because of their shortness. However, obviously, in times of panic, one might just forget the 10-codes in which case he or she had better hope the radios don't go out.

              On that note, I've seen some news on some sort of who new police radio package motorola is coming out with that supposedly is almost crystal clear, almost no breaks in transmissions, and travels a lot farther than trunked systems (useful i would imagine for those chases that just seem to go on and on and you need to be in touch with your dispatcher)


              Tex
              KD5HQD

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sparky:
                Also, in a stressful situation, those codes can fall right out of your head. I heard about a case of an officer who worked for one agency for years and then went to work for another one that used different ten codes. He got into a scrape and was shouting info over the radio, needed help, etc. But in his state of mind, he reverted back to the ten codes that he was more familiar with.
                I have BEEN THERE! However, when I yelled at dispatch to GET ME SOME F*****G HELP! they did seem to get the message. So did everybody from the neighboring PDs, the SO and CHP. I got my butt chewed for it later, but by golly I got the help that I needed right then!
                6P1 (retired)

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                • #9
                  When I started in 1980, we used ten codes alot. As our dispatch began getting computerized, we began using more and more signals. Around 1995 or so, we got so many signals, nobody could keep up with them, so we started switching to plain English ( well, plain Northeast Texas English ). Now, we use a combination of codes, signals, and plain English. Gets kind of confusing at times, espicially whe an old head is trying to talk to a rookie in code and signal. Rookie doesn't have a clue. One of the chiefs blew a gasket the other day when dispatch put out a 10-89 ( bomb threat ) and the officer didn't have a clue and asked dispatch what that was. He still thought everyone knew what the ten codes meant.
                  RADAR is the 8th wonder of the world.

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                  • #10


                    [ 07-17-2002: Message edited by: Legal Assistant ]
                    This post has been rated PG-13 for your viewing pleasure.

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                    • #11
                      I prefer plain speech most of the time. 10 codes can save a few seconds of air time for routine things. For things we do not want the whole world to know ie; dead body, family not notified, we will public service. We all carry cell phones. Yes they can be monitored too but it is less likely that a specific incident can be tied to a cell call. We know everyone is listening. I'm 10-42, 10-7 good night all.

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                      • #12
                        Years ago when I was dispatching I got a call at about 5:30 in the morning about some barking dogs. It had really been a slow night so I called a unit & said, "Go to (such & such address) reference 10-11 (dog call). All of a sudden two other units sprang into action calling to say that they were also enroute. They were calling each other to establish the direction they were going in & everything. They checked out at the residence with one taking the front & the other the back. A minute later one sheepishly called & asked, "What's a 10-11?" I replied, "Dog call." Both units checked back in-service just as the originally assigned unit arrived at the scene. The officers came in & admitted that they were half-asleep & thought I had said 10-14, a prowler call.

                        My Dad still laughs over an old episode of Andy Griffith when an uppity State Police Captain was talking to Sheriff Taylor on the radio & the Sheriff signed off with 10-4. The Captain tried to continue the conversation but Andy told him in his heavy country accent, "I'm sorry, I done 10-4'd ya'."

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                        • #13
                          We (SO) have 10-codes, signals and alpha codes. One local PD used clear speech. They tie up the channel "clarifing" traffic.

                          The codes may have limits, but they also limit traffic time.

                          Of course, over the years I have had to "unlearn" several sets of code. Each agancy seems to vary a bit, and even one will change options over time.
                          LEO and Smoke Eater
                          Former Marine

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