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Dec 28, 2014
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Codes and Lingo

Introduction

Due to the nature of emergency services and 2-way radio communications, most agencies have adopted specific codes to identify calling parties, statuses, incidents, and various situations. It's not always easy to pick up on the style of communications and radio lingo - it takes time and experience to piece things together quickly.

We've included some basic radio procedure for the local agencies on this page. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the radio communication protocols, if you hear a term that you are unfamiliar with, you may wish to check the glossary to see if it is defined there.

If you notice that any of this information is out of date or incorrect, please let us know by sending us a note on our contact page. Thanks!

 

Phonetics

Due to static and less-than-perfect transmission conditions, most spellings done over radio are done phonetically - in other words, a standardized word is said in place of each letter. For example, if a unit were calling in a person with the last name of "Smith", it would usually be transmitted as "Sam Mary Ida Tom Henry". Law enforcement phonetics are generally different from military and amateur radio phonetics.

Standard Law Enforcement Phonetic Alphabet:

A Adam    N Nora
B Boy or Baker    O Ocean
C Charlie    P Paul
D David    Q Queen
E Edward    R Robert
F Frank    S Sam
G George    T Tom
H Henry    U Union
I Ida    V Victor
J John    W William
K King    X X-ray
L Lincoln    Y Young or Yellow
M Mary    Z Zebra

 

Unit Designators

Unit designators are generally used to determine the type of police unit calling into dispatch (and can determine officer rank, vehicle type, special assignment, or other special notations. The designator precedes the unit's ID number. If the designator itself is preceded by a number (such as 1-Adam-85), that number indicates the patrol area (beat) for the officer.

Grants Pass Police

Designator ID    Unit Type
A-Adam    Standard patrol unit
B-Baker    Bicycle unit
C-Charlie    Corporal unit
D-David    Detective unit
K-King    K9 unit
M-Mary    Motorcycle traffic patrol unit
O-Ocean    Off-duty officer
P-Paul    Patrol Support/Community Service Officer unit
S-Sam    Sergeant unit
T-Tom    Traffic patrol unit
Z-Zebra    Command staff

 

Josephine County Sheriff

Designator ID    Unit Type
A    Command staff
BLM    BLM property enforcement unit
C    Civil service unit
L    Standard deputy patrol unit
K9    K9 unit
X    Corporal/Sergeant unit

 

Status, Disposition, and Informational Codes

Status, disposition, and other informational codes are often used to quickly convey information over the radio. Grants Pass Public Safety and the Josephine County Sheriff's Office both use mostly plain-text radio communications with the exception of a small number of status/info codes. OSP utilizes 12-code for most communications as well as numerous disposition codes when clearing calls.

Grants Pass Police and Josephine County Sheriff

Code Description
Code 1 Proceed at your convenience, no lights/siren
Code 2 Proceed immediately, lights/siren only when necessary through traffic
Code 3 Proceed immediately, full lights/siren - often just referred to as "code"
Code 4 Situation is "under control" - no further assistance is necessary
Code 5 Subject is a potential hazard to law enforcement, has an outstanding
warrant, or is a potential flight risk
Code 5M Code 5 subject, with a misdemeanor warrant; "Code 5 Mary"
or "Code 5 M-Mary"
Code 5F Code 5 subject, with a felony warrant; "Code 5 Frank" or
"Code 5 F-Frank"
Code 6 Investigating situation/call, usually out of vehicle
Code 7 Meal break
Code 7A Meal break at home
Code 10 Keep radio clear unless emergency - silence of radio is a
necessity for the situation

 

OSP Status/Information Codes (12-code)

Code    Description
12-1    Unit in service
12-2    Unit out of service
12-3    Return to office
12-4    Call (office, other) by phone
12-5    Readvise message
12-6    Contact address or complainant information
12-7    DMV registration check
12-8    DMV registration and RO check
12-9    PUC status check
12-10    Operator's license check
12-10A    No valid operator's license
12-11    Advise descriptors from operator's license
12-12    Unable to copy; change location
12-13    Stations and/or cars called, prepare to write
12-14    Relay following to station
12-15    Locate for emergency message
12-16    Motor Vehicle Accident (general)
12-16A    MVA, fatal
12-16B    MVA, injury, no ambulance
12-17    MVA, ambulance dispatched
12-18    Dispatch ambulance
12-19    Dispatch tow vehicle
12-20    Check priors, record, wants, stolen
12-20A    Sensitive info - can subject hear radio?
12-21    No records/priors and no wants
12-22    No wants, prior misdemeanor record
12-23    No wants, prior felony record
12-24A    Subject wanted - felony
12-24B    Subject wanted - misdemeanor
12-25    Similar subject record, additional info required
12-26    Base station going out of service
12-27    Call by radio on arrival at office
12-28    Suspicious person
12-29    Disturbance
12-30    Reckless driver
12-31    Intoxicated driver
12-32    Intoxicated person
12-33    Emergency - all stations/cars remain silent
12-34    Resume normal operations/radio traffic
12-35    Abandoned motor vehicle
12-36    Fish and Game violation
12-37    Advise road and weather vicinity
12-38    Change radio frequency
12-39    Attention all stations
12-40    Standby, busy
12-41    Go ahead with radio transmission
12-42    No traffic
12-43    Disregard previous transmission
12-44    Accident or spill - hazardous materials
12-45    Burgular alarm
12-46    Advise telephone number of station
12-47    Computer files temporarily not available
12-48    Computer files now available
12-49    Death investigation
12-49A    Possible homocide
12-50    Message not radio traffic, handle by phone
12-51    Sex offender
12-52    Radio technicians enroute to your station
12-53    Utility power out - using emergency power
12-54    Testing station, desire report of voice quality
12-55    Transmit an equipment test, count 1 to 5
12-56    No help immediately available
12-57    Disabled motorist
12-58    Narcotic activity
12-59    Late return - advise my residence
12-65    Roll call for all units
12-88    Off duty
12-94    All clear - no assistance needed
12-96    Vehicle stop - location and license
12-97    Radio check
12-98    Officer needs help - non-emergency
12-99    Officer needs help - emergency

 

OSP Disposition Codes

Code    Description
1    No action taken
2    Traffic citation issued
3    Traffic warning issued
4    Lodged in jail
5    Report taken
6    No report taken
7    Log in daily report
8    Unable to locate/Gone on arrival
9    Field identification report
10    Unfounded
11    Referred to outside agency
12    Recontact - case continuing
13    Civil matter - no action
14    No patrol available
15    Follow up
16    Information obtained
17    Truck inspection
18    Cite and release
19    Miscellaneous
20    ODOT advised
2A    55MPH citation
2B    65MPH citation
2C    Seatbelt citation
2D    Child seatbelt citation
3A    Seatbelt warning
4A    DUII arrest - State highway
4B    DUII arrest - other highway