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No more codes ....... per FEMA?


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  • No more codes ....... per FEMA?

    (Washington, DC-NBC) Aug. 22, 2005 - In Washington, DC, if a police
    officer says 10-50, he or she is talking about a car accident. Over
    the border in Montgomery County, Maryland that same code means an
    officer needs help.

    And that's why the federal government says its time to adopt a common
    language, plain English.

    Radio codes are a second language in public safety circles, but the
    Federal Emergency Management agency says there's no room for
    misunderstanding in a national emergency.

    So it's ordering police and other departments to phase out their
    code-speak and start talking in plain English by next September, or
    risk losing millions of dollars in emergency preparedness money.

    Gil Jamieson is director of what's known as the National Incident
    Management System, or NIMS. He says there's been some resistance from
    police, "Clearly, ten codes are something which are part and parcel to
    law enforcement."

    But he says the ability to communicate is more important, "The notion
    of moving to plain English is to say what we mean so there is that
    common understanding."

    Chief Terrance Gainer of the US Capitol Police says, "To use money as
    a hammer to throw out what we've been using for years and years and
    has worked well for us, that's not such a good idea without a lot more

    Chief Gainer says the codes have a long history for good reason, "It
    is a concise language, it's very clear, it takes up very little air
    space and there are some security issues about it."

    Many fire departments went to plain English years ago. Some say
    changing the language public safety officers speak is easier said than


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  • #2

    I guess I have always liked the 10-codes, but I see FEMA's arguement here... I would rather see a national set of 10-codes rather than doing away with them all together...
    In Valor there is Hope


    • #3
      Last edited by Harleydude; 01-12-2006, 08:36 AM.
      Just the facts ma`am, just the facts.


      • #4
        When I started working for my department in 1980 we used 10 codes. Then when when we went to our first generation CAD, we used our first set of signals and 10 codes. Then we went to a second generation of signals and 10 codes. Now we are a combination of codes, signals, and plain English. However, we also clear our calls on our MDT's, which has a whole unique set of codes.
        RADAR is the 8th wonder of the world.


        • #5
          There are still some things that don't need to be broadcast in plan english where it can be heard by unnecessary people. We use 171 for a mental person. If I was to tell dispatch I had a mental patent instead of a 171 it can change the entire dynamic of the incident. For the most though, part we already use plain english. CAD has codes in it but when a call is being broadcast over the air the dispatcher gives us everything in plain english, I don't even know most of the CAD nature codes of the top of my head.


          • #6
            If they do that in NYC, police transmissions will start sounding like dialogue from Goodfellas...Here, nobody "gets promoted" to Sergeant: they "get made," then become "bosses" or "big bosses," and anybody who doesn't "do the right thing" is a "rat." Dispatch, Fat Tony had a beef with some mutts down by Fulton Street over that thing uptown with Little Petie's crew yesterday...Big Boss gave the OK...badabing, badaboop...one of the mutts is gone...so whataryagonnado, eh? Tell the boss we got his canolis. Out.
            Last edited by ProWriter; 08-25-2005, 12:25 PM.
            No longer ignoring anybody here, since that psycho known as "Josey Wales" finally got the boot after being outed as a LE imposter by B&G978. Nice job.


            • #7
              Heres an idea: how about using plain english DURING a nat'l emergency, and leaving us alone the other 99.999% of the time?
              press hard-5 copies


              • #8
                I think the ICS system is a good idea. I am still a little hazy on how the communications aspect of it will work, since in my line of work we use plain english. I don't know how much it will actually influence day to day operations, but for multi-agency efforts, i think it will prove invaluable.


                • #9
                  FEMA/US Government leave someone alone? Ha. From what I've been told on another forum, they're going after the Phonetic Alphabet, too.

                  Yep. No more Alfa, Romeo, or Mary. Just make up a word that starts with B at the situation permits.

                  Can anyone confirm this?
                  N. A. Corbier
                  Moderator, SecurityInfoWatch Forums
                  Visiting Commando Leader

                  If you work in private security, feel free to register on Officer.com's sister site for security, forums.securityinfowatch.com


                  • #10
                    FEMA needs to just shut the flip up. I figure cops know more about thier language and the differences in it to adjust accordingly on the fly.

                    I don't give a rip if FEMA of anybody else understands what the heck we are saying. The only thing that matters is that we do, and we do.

                    You get ten cops working one raidly evolving incident and the radio can get tied up real quick. Ar time is a premium and is measured in seconds.
                    "In my life I have met many people who were quick to point a finger, and but a few that cared enough lift one"



                    • #11
                      Ok, so your saying cops know what there saying, what about federal agencies? What about 10-50, maybe in your department it might mean officer in need of assistance, but in another, who knows.. Also, your not just working with cops, but with fire departments, ems, utilities, state agencies, federal agencies, the private sector ect... As I said before, I don't believe this will effect day to day operations of a single department, but it is something that will need to be learned for future incidents.
                      For anybody who wishes to learn more, you can get up to ICS 200 qualified via this website.



                      • #12
                        It's about time....Maybe cops will stop referring to themselves in the third person in reports too....


                        • #13
                          We phased out 10 codes 15 years ago.
                          The People's Republic of Massachusetts

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                          • #14
                            heh. I broke myself of referring to myself in the third person in reports (Which, yes, did go to court more often than not, or used in civil proceedings against persons) about five years ago.

                            The problem that lifesaving123 is talking about is very real, though. In a terrorist incident, foreign or domestic, FEMA, National Health Service, the FBI, DHS, and God knows who else is going to be tromping all over your local LE frequencies. If someone raidos in a Signal 50, the guy who's been redeployed from Granite City, Missouri to Tampa, Florida, as part of an emergency deployment because MacDill AFB just got nuked, is going to go... wtf?

                            I think FEMA is starting to get every one in line for the day when something happens that's really bad, and its going to start making a federal police force out of everyone, for the emergency situation. Remember, they have the power to basically show up, assume all authority, declare martial law, and get the job done.
                            N. A. Corbier
                            Moderator, SecurityInfoWatch Forums
                            Visiting Commando Leader

                            If you work in private security, feel free to register on Officer.com's sister site for security, forums.securityinfowatch.com


                            • #15
                              10 Codes = Shorter radio broadcasts, which in turn = good.


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