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Police Codes Guide – Common Police Scanner Codes and What They Mean

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Police Codes And What They Mean


“1 Adam-12, 1 Adam-12….we have a 415 in progress…see the man….”

415s? 211s?

These codes came blaring across the police radio of LAPDs finest as Pete Malloy and Jim Reed raced off in their police edition Plymouth Belvedere to maintain the peace and keep the fine citizens of LA safe in the late 60s through the mid-seventies.

Yes….that was a long….long time ago – and yet many of the same 10-codes are still an integral part of communications in public safety systems today.


Common Police Codes and What They Mean- Picture of police car

Police codes are an integral part of law enforcement communication, providing officers with a concise and efficient means of conveying information in the field. These codes, also known as radio codes or ten-codes, have a long history and serve various purposes within the police force. Understanding the meaning behind these codes is crucial for both officers and civilians alike, as it allows for effective communication during emergencies and everyday operations.

Since their inception, police scanner codes have evolved to become a standardized system that aids in quick and precise communication between officers. The use of these codes dates back to the early 20th century when radio technology became prevalent in law enforcement agencies. By utilizing coded messages instead of lengthy verbal exchanges, officers were able to transmit information rapidly without cluttering up the airwaves.

Moreover, police radio codes provide a sense of belonging and unity among law enforcement personnel. Officers who are well-versed in these codes can communicate effortlessly with their colleagues from different jurisdictions or even across international borders. This shared language not only enhances interagency cooperation but also fosters a strong sense of camaraderie among those who dedicate their lives to ensuring public safety.

In this article, we will delve into the world of police scanner codes by examining their history, purpose, and common usage. We will explore some commonly used codes such as Code 10 for traffic stop procedures, Code 187 for homicide investigations, and Code 911 for emergency situations and response. By unraveling the meanings behind these codes and shedding light on their significance within law enforcement communities worldwide, we hope to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of this intricate system that plays a vital role in maintaining public safety.


The History and Purpose of Police Codes


The history and purpose of police radio codes can be traced back to the early 20th century when law enforcement agencies sought a standardized system of communication for efficient and discreet exchanges of information, ultimately enhancing public safety and maintaining order in communities. Over time, these codes have evolved to meet the changing needs of law enforcement. Initially, police codes were primarily used to transmit important information quickly without alerting potential suspects or causing panic among citizens. However, as technology advanced, the role of police codes expanded beyond simple messaging.

Police 10 Codes - Radio CommunicationsOne of the key roles that they play is in enhancing communication between officers. By using a system of predetermined codes, law enforcement personnel can convey complex information concisely and accurately. This allows for faster response times and more effective coordination during critical situations such as emergencies or high-risk incidents. Additionally, these codes provide officers with a common language that transcends regional dialects or language barriers, enabling seamless collaboration between different jurisdictions during joint operations or investigations.

The impact of technology on police code usage cannot be ignored. With the advent of mobile devices and digital communication systems, traditional radio-based code transmissions have been supplemented or even replaced by text-based messaging platforms. These technological advancements have further improved the efficiency and accuracy of information exchange within law enforcement agencies. Officers can now send detailed messages containing relevant data such as suspect descriptions or vehicle license plate numbers directly to their colleagues’ smartphones or computers, eliminating any confusion caused by misinterpretation over voice channels.

However, controversies surrounding the use of police scanner codes also exist. Critics argue that these coded communications can create an atmosphere of secrecy and exclusivity within law enforcement agencies that may undermine transparency and accountability. Some fear that overly cryptic language may hinder public understanding and trust in policing efforts. Furthermore, concerns about potential misuse or abuse arise when there is limited oversight regarding the content and context in which certain codes are used.

Despite these controversies, it is worth noting that police radio codes vary across different jurisdictions. While some codes are universal and widely recognized, others may be specific to a particular police department or region. This variation can present challenges during inter-agency collaborations or mutual aid situations. However, efforts have been made to standardize certain codes, such as the Police ten-codes used by many American law enforcement agencies.

The history and purpose of police codes reflect the need for efficient and discreet communication within law enforcement agencies. These codes have evolved over time to adapt to technological advancements and changing societal needs. While they enhance communication and coordination among officers, controversies regarding their use persist. Additionally, variations in police codes across jurisdictions can create challenges but ongoing efforts aim to promote standardization where possible for improved collaboration between agencies.


Commonly Used Police Codes and Their Meanings


One frequently encountered set of symbols used within law enforcement is a collection of numerical representations that convey specific information. These codes, known as police codes or ten-codes, are used to facilitate efficient communication between officers and dispatchers.

Each code represents a particular incident or situation and allows for quick and concise transmission of information over the radio. While there are numerous police codes in use today, some of the most commonly used ones include:

  1. Code 5150: Mental health interventions Code 5150 is often used by law enforcement to refer to situations involving individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health crisis. This code allows officers to request immediate assistance from mental health professionals who can provide appropriate intervention and support.
  2. Code 207: Kidnapping incidents When officers encounter a kidnapping situation, they use Code 207 to indicate that someone has been unlawfully taken against their will. This code prompts an urgent response from law enforcement agencies as time is of the essence in such cases.
  3. Code 245: Assault and battery cases Code 245 is utilized by law enforcement when responding to reports of assault and battery incidents. This code helps officers identify the type of crime being reported quickly so that they can take appropriate action based on the severity of the situation.
  4. Code 211: Robbery investigations are indicated by using Code 211 in police communications. This code alerts nearby units about ongoing robbery incidents so that they can respond promptly and apprehend suspects while ensuring public safety.
  5. Code 415: Disturbance or domestic dispute incidents. Code 415 refers to disturbances or domestic disputes that require police intervention. It encompasses various situations such as loud arguments, physical altercations, or any activity that disrupts the peace. Officers responding to Code 415 calls are trained to de-escalate conflicts and ensure the safety of all involved parties.

Police codes play a vital role in law enforcement by enabling efficient communication and response to various incidents. Codes such as 5150 for mental health interventions, 207 for kidnapping incidents, 245 for assault and battery cases, 211 for robbery investigations, and 415 for disturbance or domestic dispute incidents help officers quickly understand the nature of a situation and take appropriate action. By utilizing these codes effectively, law enforcement agencies can enhance public safety and provide timely assistance when needed.



Police 10 Codes


In the United States, there is no universally standardized police code 10s. However, different jurisdictions may use their own set of codes to communicate specific information over radio systems. These codes can vary significantly from one department to another. Therefore, the meaning of a police code could depend on the specific jurisdiction using it. It is best to consult the police department or agency in question to determine the meaning of their codes

In general, police codes are used to streamline communication between law enforcement officers and dispatchers, allowing for quick and efficient exchange of information. They provide a shorthand way to convey important details, such as the nature of a call or the status of an officer, without revealing sensitive information to the public. Police 10 Codes, if used by a particular jurisdiction, could refer to a specific situation or action, such as a traffic stop, a report of a suspicious person, or a request for backup. The specific meaning can only be determined by understanding the codes used by that jurisdiction.

In addition to police codes, law enforcement agencies also use other forms of communication, such as plain language, to convey information. Plain language is often used when communicating with the public or during situations that require clear and concise instructions. This allows officers to effectively communicate with individuals involved in a crime or emergency, as well as provide updates and instructions to their fellow officers. The use of codes and plain language in police communication helps maintain order, efficiency, and safety in law enforcement operations.

Police 10 Codes...10-4. Policeman acknowledging instructionsOne commonly used code is “Code 10-4,” which means “message received.” This code is typically used to acknowledge that a message or instruction has been understood and will be carried out.

Another frequently used Code 10 is “Code 10-20,” which indicates the location of a person or incident. This code is used to request the exact whereabouts of a suspect or to provide the location of an ongoing crime or emergency situation.

Additionally, “Code 10-33” is often used to signal an emergency situation or an officer in need of immediate assistance. These common Code 10s are just a few examples of the wide range of codes used by law enforcement agencies to streamline communication and ensure effective coordination in the field.

List of Police 10 Codes

Have you ever wondered what those mysterious codes mean when you listen to a police scanner? We’ve got you covered! Our comprehensive Police Codes Guide will demystify those cryptic codes and explain their meanings. Whether you’re a curious citizen or a true crime enthusiast, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the world of law enforcement communication. Stay informed and decode the secrets behind the scenes with our List of Police 10 Codes.

Click for Comprehensive List of Police Scanner 10 Codes


Complete List of Police 10 Codes

Police 10 codes, also known as ten signals or ten codes, are numerical codes used by law enforcement officers to communicate efficiently and effectively over the radio. Here is a complete list of common police 10 codes:

10-1: Poor reception
10-2: Good reception
10-3: Stop transmitting
10-4: Affirmative/acknowledgment
10-5: Relay message
10-6: Busy, stand by
10-7: Out of service/leaving the air
10-8: In service/available for assignments
10-9: Repeat message
10-10: Negative
10-11: Dispatching too rapidly
10-12: Visitors present
10-13: Advise weather/road conditions
10-14: Escort or convoy
10-15: Prisoner in custody
10-16: Pick up prisoner
10-17: Request for gasoline
10-18: Urgent assistance needed
10-19: Return to the station
10-20: Location
10-21: Call by telephone
10-22: Disregard previous assignment
10-23: Stand by
10-24: Completed last assignment
10-25: Report in person
10-26: Detaining subject, expedite
10-27: Driver’s license information
10-28: Vehicle registration information
10-29: Check for wanted/stolen
10-30: Unauthorized use of radio
10-31: Crime in progress
10-32: Person with a gun
10-33: Emergency traffic
10-34: Riot
10-35: Major crime alert
10-36: Correct time
10-37: Suspicious vehicle
10-38: Stopping suspicious vehicle
10-39: Urgent use of lights and siren
10-40: Silent run, no lights or siren
10-41: Beginning tour of duty
10-42: Ending tour of duty
10-43: Information
10-44: Permission to leave patrol area
10-45: Dead animal
10-46: Assist motorist
10-47: Emergency road repairs
10-48: Traffic standard repair
10-49: Traffic signal out
10-50: Accident
10-51: Wrecker needed
10-52: Ambulance needed
10-53: Road blocked
10-54: Livestock on highway
10-55: Intoxicated driver
10-56: Intoxicated pedestrian
10-57: Hit and run
10-58: Direct traffic
10-59: Convoy or escort
10-60: Squad in vicinity
10-61: Personnel in area
10-62: Reply to message
10-63: Prepare to copy
10-64: Message for local delivery
10-65: Net message assignment
10-66: Cancel message
10-67: Clear for message
10-68: Dispatch information
10-69: Message received
10-70: Fire alarm
10-71: Proceed with caution
10-72: Report progress of assignment
10-73: Smoke report
10-74: Negative contact
10-75: In contact with
10-76: En route
10-77: ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)
10-78: Need assistance
10-79: Bomb threat
10-80: Pursuit in progress
10-81: Breathalyzer report
10-82: Reserve lodging
10-83: Work school crossing
10-84: If meeting, advise ETA
10-85: Delayed due to traffic
10-86: Officer/operator on duty
10-87: Pick up prisoner/subject
10-88: Present telephone number
10-89: Bomb threat
10-90: Bank alarm
10-91: Pick up subject
10-92: Illegally parked vehicle
10-93: Blockade
10-94: Drag racing
10-95: Subject in custody
10-96: Mental subject
10-97: Arrived at scene
10-98: Available to assign
10-99: Officer needs assistance

Please note that these codes may vary slightly between different police departments and regions.


Police Code 187: Homicide Investigations


Homicide investigations, specifically referred to as Code 187, require meticulous examination of evidence and thorough analysis in order to determine the circumstances surrounding a death and identify the responsible party.

This complex process involves various crime scene procedures, investigative techniques, forensic evidence collection, suspect interrogation methods, and case management and prosecution strategies. It is crucial to follow these steps diligently to ensure justice is served.

In homicide investigations, crime scene procedures play a pivotal role in gathering evidence and preserving its integrity. First responders must secure the area to prevent contamination or destruction of potential clues. Forensic experts meticulously document the scene through photography, sketches, and notes. Additionally, they search for physical evidence such as fingerprints or DNA that may link suspects to the crime. By following these prescribed protocols, investigators can establish a solid foundation for their investigation.

Investigative techniques are essential tools employed by law enforcement agencies during homicide investigations. Detectives conduct witness interviews with individuals who may have information about the incident or saw suspicious activity near the scene. They also utilize surveillance footage from nearby cameras or traffic cameras to track potential suspects’ movements before or after the crime occurred. Moreover, detectives may employ undercover operations or wiretapping in certain cases where it may yield valuable leads.

Forensic evidence collection plays a vital role in homicide investigations as it provides scientific support for investigators’ theories and helps establish facts beyond a reasonable doubt in court proceedings. This includes collecting biological samples like bloodstains or hair fibers that could link suspects to victims or crime scenes. Firearms identification experts analyze bullet casings and firearms recovered at the scene to determine if they match any known weapons used in other crimes. The careful preservation and analysis of forensic evidence can be critical in successfully prosecuting those responsible for homicides.

Suspect interrogation methods are another important aspect of homicide investigations aimed at obtaining valuable information from persons of interest while respecting their constitutional rights. Skilled interrogators use various tactics such as building rapport with suspects or employing psychological techniques to elicit truthful statements. Through effective questioning, investigators can gather additional evidence, uncover motives, or identify potential accomplices. However, it is essential that these interrogations are conducted in a lawful and ethical manner to maintain the integrity of the investigation.

Homicide investigations, known as Code 187, require a comprehensive approach that encompasses crime scene procedures, investigative techniques, forensic evidence collection, suspect interrogation methods, and case management and prosecution strategies. By adhering to these protocols and employing sound investigative practices, law enforcement agencies strive to solve homicides and bring justice to victims and their families. The meticulous examination of evidence coupled with strategic analysis plays a crucial role in identifying responsible parties while ensuring fair legal proceedings.


Code 911: Emergency Situations and Response


Emergency situations that require an immediate response and assistance from law enforcement agencies are denoted by Code 911. This emergency dispatch protocol is crucial in ensuring that first responders can effectively communicate and coordinate their efforts to provide timely assistance to those in need.

The importance of efficient emergency response strategies cannot be overstated, as they can mean the difference between life and death in critical situations.

First-responder communication plays a pivotal role in handling emergencies. When a call comes into the emergency hotline, it is essential for dispatchers to gather accurate information quickly and relay it to the appropriate authorities. Effective emergency call-handling techniques involve staying calm, asking relevant questions, and providing clear instructions to callers until help arrives. Dispatchers must also prioritize calls based on urgency and allocate resources accordingly.

In emergency situations, time is of the essence, making it vital for law enforcement agencies to have well-established procedures in place for responding swiftly. Once a Code 911 call is received, officers must be dispatched promptly to the scene while simultaneously updating other units about the situation. Clear communication channels between dispatchers and first responders enable them to work together seamlessly toward resolving emergencies efficiently.

The implementation of Code 911 has revolutionized emergency response systems by streamlining protocols and improving coordination among various stakeholders involved. By adhering to effective emergency hotline procedures, law enforcement agencies can ensure that they address each situation promptly and professionally. This not only provides a sense of security for individuals caught up in distressing circumstances but also instills faith in the community that help will arrive when needed most.

Overall, Code 911 serves as a lifeline during times of crisis by facilitating rapid responses from law enforcement agencies. Through efficient emergency dispatch protocol, first responder communication, effective emergency response strategies, proper hotline procedures, and adept call-handling techniques – lives can be saved and order restored swiftly within our communities.

The seamless collaboration between dispatchers and first responders helps create an environment where individuals feel protected knowing that their safety is a priority.


Conclusion  –  Police Codes Still Play an Important Role


In conclusion, police codes play a crucial role in facilitating effective communication among law enforcement agencies. These codes have a rich history and serve various purposes such as ensuring quick and concise communication during emergency situations.

Understanding commonly used police codes can help civilians better comprehend the actions being taken by officers and provide valuable information when reporting incidents. By deciphering the meanings behind different codes like Code 10 for traffic stops, Code 187 for homicide investigations, and Code 911 for emergency situations, individuals can gain insight into the operations of law enforcement agencies.

Overall, police codes are an integral part of the intricate system that allows officers to effectively communicate in the field and maintain public safety.




More Common Police Codes and What They Mean

What is a Police Code 4?

What is Code 4 for police?

The Police Code 4 is a commonly used term in police radio communications, typically indicating that the situation is under control and no further assistance is needed. It is often used to inform dispatch or other units that the officer is in a safe and secure position, the incident has been resolved, or the requested assistance is no longer required.

What does a 1080 police code mean?

Meaning of the 10-80 Police Radio Code

The 10-80 code does not have a universal meaning and can vary depending on the police department or jurisdiction.Police 10 Codes - 1080, Bomb Threat

In some jurisdictions, it may refer to a pursuit in progress, while in others it may refer to a bomb threat or suspicious package.

It is important to note that police codes can differ from one location to another, so the meaning of a specific code should always be verified within the context of the specific jurisdiction.


What does the 10 8 police code mean?


10 8 Code Definition

10-8 Police Code-officer ready to respondThe  code 10-8 is a common code used by law enforcement agencies to indicate that an officer is available for duty and ready to respond to calls.

It is often used when an officer is coming back on duty after a break or completing another assignment.

What does the 10 22 Code Mean?

10 22 Police Radio Code

The code “10-22” in police radio communication typically means “Disregard” or “Cancel.”

What is the Meaning of the 10 50 Police Scanner Code?

10 50 Police Radio Code 

Police 10 Codes - 10-50 Accident involving injuryThe  “10-50” code typically refers to a traffic accident involving injuries.



Top 12 Most Common Police Codes and Their Meanings – Video Summary

YouTube video

Video Transcript of Top 12 Most Common Police Codes and Their Meanings

Top 12 Most Common Police Codes


Have you ever wondered what those cryptic codes mean when you hear them on police scanners or hear them on top shows like CSI and Law and order? Well, look no further! In this video, we’ll unveil the top 12 most common police codes and break them down for you.

From the familiar 10-4 to the more obscure Code 6, we’ll give you a comprehensive guide to understanding these essential communication tools used by law enforcement.

So buckle up and get ready to crack the code!



You’ll often hear police use the term 10-4 to acknowledge instructions.  This term is common in everyday life and is recognized as being synonymous with saying “OK”.  




The 211 police code is used to indicate a robbery in progress.




The 415 police code refers to a “disturbance” or “disturbing the peace” in many jurisdictions. It typically indicates a situation where there is a disruption of public order or peace, such as a fight, argument, or loud disturbance.



Code 4

The code 4 is a signal used by law enforcement to indicate that the situation is under control and no assistance is needed.


10 50

If you ever encounter code 50, it means that there is a major accident or incident requiring immediate attention from law enforcement and emergency services.

This code serves as an urgent call for help and emphasizes the importance of swift action in times of crisis.


10 7

The 10 7 police code indicates that an officer is busy and unable to respond to non-urgent calls at the moment. When you hear this code, it means that the officer is tied up with something important and cannot immediately attend to less pressing matters.


10 22


The police code 10-22 typically means “Disregard” or “Cancel last message.” It is used by police officers to inform dispatch or other officers that a previously communicated message or request is no longer relevant or necessary.


10 15


10-15 is a common police code used to indicate a suspect in custody, or to request a prisoner transport.


10 8


In the United States, the police code “10-8” typically means “in service” or “available for calls.” It is often used by police officers to indicate that they are ready to respond to any incidents or requests for assistance.


10 80

The 10-80 police code does not have a universal meaning and can vary depending on the police department or jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions, it may refer to a pursuit in progress, while in others it may refer to a bomb threat or suspicious package.


Code 6

Code 6 is often used by law enforcement to indicate that an officer needs assistance or backup at a specific location. It could be due to a dangerous situation or the need for additional manpower.


10 99

When officers use code 99, it indicates that a suspect is armed and dangerous.

Code 99 situations require immediate action from the police, as they are dealing with individuals who pose a significant risk to public safety.


Thank You!

Thank you for watching, we hope you found this list useful…For a more complete list, visit us at :


Final Thoughts


Thank you for your interest in Police Codes and What They Mean.

This is by no means a complete and exhaustive list…(click here for more police scanner codes meanings)but, hopefully, it gives you some insight into some of the common terms often used in police communications.Code 4 Police Code

Keep in mind, it may vary from place to place…but, their contributions to our society are nearly universal.

We all owe public safety personnel and first responders a debt of gratitude for keeping our world a bit safer.

Feel free to share this post with the people you care about, and leave some of your favorite police codes in the comment section below!

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Last Updated on August 30, 2023 by

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