Police Communication Codes

Police, fire and ambulance personnel use a large body of acronyms, abbreviations, codes and slang to provide quick concise descriptions of situations in both spoken and written communication. This jargon has grown into a vast language that is colloquially referred to as “cop talk” by radio scanner enthusiasts and other professionals that work in conjunction with these agencies. The following information and additional resources are provided in hopes of easing the pain of translating the cop talk commonly used in the Public Safety records we publish on this website.

Understanding Public Safety Jargon

Despite multiple attempts by the APCO to define a national standard for the most commonly used police codes over the past seventy-five years, substantial variations exist between local, county and state agencies. For anything beyond the first 2-3 dozen basic 10 and 11 codes, proper translation of police reports and dispatch records obtained via Open Record Requests requires a “cheat sheet” or glossary for the average layperson. There is also a long-standing tradition of some police agencies being resistant to releasing the specific list of radio codes they define internally for security reasons.

Whenever possible, this website will provide documentation obtained from a given agency for translating the numeric codes that frequently appear in the disclosure files posted here. Currently, we have the following cheat sheets readily available for cross reference look-ups to the public safety records we have archived.

  • (Editor’s note: additional resource pages will be listed here eventually)

When in-house documentation from a given agency is not available, the Generic Cop Talk Glossary listings below can be used for approximate translations. Before relying on the listings provided on this page, we recommend you check the websites we have indexed under Additional Reference Lists as well as your favorite search engine for a list of “police codes” for the specific agency, municipality and county/state you are trying to translate.

If you are unable to find a list for the exact agency or area, adjacent areas are the next best thing since neighboring station houses tend to standardize with each other when they share personnel and responsibilities within a broader community. When all else fails, use our generic glossary with this disclaimer: for every code or abbreviation correctly translated here, there will be a dozen or more brevity codes that are completely unique to the agency or area that we are missing or have listed incorrectly.

Generic Cop Talk Glossary

The following outline is a partial list of codes and abbreviation that may or may not be used by a given agency. We have limited this listing to commonly used codes specifically related to the open record requests we publish. While some normalization exists for 10/11 codes and other acronyms, the 2 and 3 digit brevity codes can be derivatives of local ordinances, state penal codes and/or seemingly random numbers chosen simply because they didn’t sound similar to anything else commonly used.

10 Codes 11 Codes
10-0 Use caution
10-1 Signal weak
10-2 Signal good
10-3 Stop transmitting
10-4 Message received, understood
10-5 Relay message
10-6 Change channel
10-7 Out of service
10-8 In service
10-9 Repeat message
10-10 Off duty
10-11 Identify frequency
10-14 Citizen with 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 Identify Location
10-21 Call ____ by telephone
10-22 Disregard last assignment
10-23 Stand by
10-24 Request car-to-car transmit
10-25 Request contact with ____
10-26 Clear
10-27 Driver’s License request
10-28 Vehicle Registration request
10-29 Check for wants/warrants
10-33 Emergency
10-52 Ambulance needed
10-55 Suspected DUI
10-56 Intoxicated pedestrian
10-70 Fire
10-78 Need assistance
10-79 Notify coroner
10-81 Breathalyzer
10-91 Pick up prisoner/subject
10-95 Prisoner/subject in custody
10-96 Mental subject
10-99 Wanted/stolen indicated
11-10 Take report
11-24 Abandoned vehicle
11-25 Traffic hazard
11-26 Abandoned bicycle
11-27 10-27 with driver held
11-28 10-28 with driver held
11-40 Advise if ambulance needed
11-41 Ambulance needed
11-42 No ambulance needed
11-44 Deceased person, Coroner requested
11-48 Furnish transportation
11-51 Escort
11-52 Funeral detail
11-54 Suspicious vehicle
11-55 Officer being followed by auto
11-56 11-55 with dangerous persons
11-57 Unidentified auto at assignments
11-58 Radio monitored, use phone
11-59 Intensive attention: high hazard
11-60 Attack in high hazard area
11-65 Signal light out
11-66 Defective signal light
11-70 Fire Alarm
11-71 Fire Report
11-78 Aircraft accident
11-79 Accident – Ambulance sent
11-80 Accident – Major injuries
11-81 Accident – Minor injuries
11-82 Accident – No injuries
11-83 Accident – No detail
11-84 Direct traffic
11-85 Tow truck required
11-86 Special Detail
11-87 Assist Other Unit
11-94 Pedestrian stop
11-95 Routine traffic stop
11-96 Checking suspicious vehicle
11-97 Time/security check on patrol
11-98 Meeting with ____
11-99 Officer needs help!
2-digit Brevity Codes 3-digit Brevity Codes
14 Ambulance in route
15 Citizens holding suspect
17 Patrol escort
18 Traffic incident
19 Drunk
20 Auto accident
20I Injury accident
20A Airplane crash
20F Fatal accident
21 Complaint
23 Traffic congestion
24 Medical emergency
25 Call dispatcher
26 Police officer
27 Attempted crime
28 Inciting a felony
29 Death
30 Homicide
32 Accessory to a felony
34 Aggravated battery
34C Cutting
34S Shooting
35 Simple battery
37 Aggravated assault
38 Simple assault
39 Negligent injury
42 Aggravated rape
43 Simple rape
44 Aggravated kidnapping
45 Simple kidnapping
51 Aggravated arson
51B Bomb threat
52 Simple arson
52E Explosives
52F Fire
54 Combustible materials
56 Criminal damage
58 Contaminated water
59 Criminal Mischief
60 Aggravated burglary
62 Alarms
62B Simple burglary
62C Auto burglary
62R Residential burglary
62S Safe burglary
63 Criminal Trespass
63S Sit-in / protest
64 Armed robbery
64G Armed robbery/gun
64K Armed robbery/knife
65 Simple robbery
65P Purse snatching
66 Extortion threats
67 Offer a bribe to executive officer
68 Unauthorized use of a movable
69 Deter/resist executive officer (other than peace officer)
69 Possession of stolen goods
71 Issuing worthless checks OR threaten injury to school officer or employee
72 Forgery
80 Carnal knowledge of juvenile
81 Indecent behavior with juvenile
82 Prostitution
84 Pandering
87 Abortion
89 Crime against nature
90 Gambling
90C Gambling, cards
90D Gambling, dice
91 Unlawful sale to minor
93 Cruelty to juvenile
94 Illegal use of weapon
95 Illegal carrying of gun
98 Driving while intoxication (DWI)
99 Reckless operation
187 Homicide
207 Kidnapping
207A Kidnapping attempt
211 Robbery
211A Robbery alarm
211S Robbery alarm, silent
217 Assault with intent to murder
240 Assault
242 Battery
245 Assault with a deadly weapon
246 Shooting at inhabited dwelling
261 Rape
261A Attempted rape
273 Assault on Person
273A Child neglect
273D Wife beating – Felony
288 Lewd conduct
311 Indecent exposure
314 Indecent exposure
374B Illegal dumping
390 Drunk
390D Drunk, unconscious
415 Disturbance
417 Person with a gun
417A Person with a knife
459 Burglary
459A Burglar alarm
459S Burglar alarm, silent
470 Forgery
480 Hit and run – Felony
481 Hit and run – Misdemeanor
484 Petty theft
487 Grand theft
488 Petty theft
502 Drunk driving
503 Auto theft
504 Tampering with a vehicle
505 Reckless driving
507 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 calls
901 Ambulance Call
901A Ambulance Call – Attempted Suicide or Injury Accident
901B Ambulance Call – Drowning
901C Ambulance Call – Cutting
901D Ambulance Call – Drunk
901H Ambulance Call – Dead Body
902 Accident
902H En route to hospital
902N Medical aid needed
902T Traffic accident
903 Aircraft crash
904 Fire
904A Automobile fire
904B Building fire
904G Grass fire
909 Traffic problem; police needed
910 Can handle this detail
912 Vehicle Registration check
913 Vehicle want/warrant check
922 Intoxicated subject
924 En route to office or jail
925 Suspicious vehicle
926 Dead body
927 Suspicious Circumstances/Vehicle
928 Narcotics/Under Influence
940 Meet Officer or Complainant
966 Drug Deal
972 Missing Person
978 Driver License Check
Response Status Codes Abbreviations & Acronyms
Caution Alpha Possibly armed
Caution Mike Mentally unstable
Caution Victor Violent
Code 0 Big emergency, all units in the area respond Code 3
Code 1 Acknowledge this call
Code 2 Urgent, cold response – no lights or siren
Code 3 Urgent, hot response -use lights and siren
Code 4 All clear, disregard or no further assistance needed
Code 5 Stakeout, all marked units stay out of area
Code 6 Calling for a cover unit(s)
Code 7 Meal break or vehicle repair
Code 8 Fire alarm
Code 9 Non-emergency radio silence
Code 10 Bomb threat
Code 12 Patrol and report extent of damage
Code 13 Major disaster activation
Code 14 Resume normal operation
Code 22 Restricted radio traffic
Code 30 Officer needs emergency assistance OR person has no record, no warrants
Code 31 Person has record, no warrants
Code 33 Emergency traffic on air – all units stand by
Code 37 Subject/Property wanted
Code 100 In position to intercept suspect
ADW Assault with a Deadly Weapon
AOA Assist Other Agency
APB All Points Bulletin
APC All Points County
ATL Attempt To Locate
BOLO Be On Lookout
CJ County Jail
CP Complaining Party
CT Court
DB Dead Body
DIP/PI/D&D Drunk In Public
DL Driver’s License
DOA Dead On Arrival
DUI/DWI Driving Under the Influence
DWS/DUS Driving While Suspended
DV Domestic Violence
EDP Emotionally Disturbed Person
FTA Failure To Appear
GOA Gone On Arrival
HP Highway Patrol
INF Infraction OR Informant
INJ Injury
JUV/J/MI Juvenile/Minor Involved
LKA Last Known Address
MHO Mental Health Officer
MIC/MIP Minor with alcohol
NCIC National Crime Info Center
NR/NRD No Report Desired
OBS Observed
PC Penal Code or Probable Cause
PI Personal Injury
POSS Possession
PR Person Reporting or Caller
R&I Records and Information
RP Radio Patrol or Reporting Party
RTF Report To Follow
S/H Station house
SUSP Suspect
S/V Suspect Vehicle
UNF Unfounded complaint
UTL Unable To Locate
VC Vehicle Code
EMS & Other Status Codes
Code Blue Bus/Cab in trouble
Code Red VARDA (Voice Activated Radio Dispatched Alarm) activated
Code Purple Gang Activity
Code 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)


Additional Reference Lists

The following resources are listed in recommendation order and provide extended listings of other communication codes and police jargon.