Nov 13, 2006

Virginia police drop 10 codes

Now they'll just use ordinary English on the radio.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, local governments have spent millions on high-tech radios to improve communication among police forces. Now, Virginia is taking the next step: changing the very way cops talk.

Starting this month, Virginia State Police have banned the "10 codes" used by generations of officers to flag everything from murders to bathroom breaks. Gone is the language of "10-4" and "What's your 10-20 [location]?"

The codes are as much a part of police culture as badges and coffee. But over time, individual police departments have adapted the codes in their own ways, creating confusion when they have to work together -- such as on Sept. 11.

Eager to avoid such mix-ups, Virginia's government has become one of the first in the nation to try to eliminate traditional cop talk. For months, officials in Richmond have worked with police and firefighters to come up with a substitute for 10 codes, finally deciding on a statewide "common language protocol."

In other words, English.

Police have reacted with a certain amount of 10-32 (alarm).
Here's a list of the 10 codes.

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