Police code

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A police code is a number abbreviation for a crime, incident or instructions for police officers.

The California Hundred Code[edit]

The Hundred Code[1] is a three digit police code system. This code is usually pronounced digit-by-digit, using a radio alphabet for any letters, as 505 "five zero five" or 207A "two zero seven Alpha".

The following codes are used in California;[2] most are from the California Penal Code (except as noted below):

Code Description
187 Homicide
207 Kidnapping
207A Kidnapping attempt
211 Robbery
211A Robbery alarm
211S Robbery alarm, silent
213 Use of illegal explosives
215 Carjacking
217 Assault with intent to murder
219 Cutting
227 Public Indecency with Handicapped
227D Public Indecency with Handicapped unconscious
240 Assault
242 Battery
245 Assault with a deadly weapon
246 Shooting at inhabited dwelling
261 Rape
261A Attempted rape
273A Child neglect
273D Domestic violence - 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
417K Person with a knife
419 Dead human body
428 Child Molest
444 Officer-Involved Shooting
459 Burglary
459A Burglar alarm
459S Burglar alarm, silent
470 Forgery
480 Hit and run - Felony (great bodily injury or death)
481 Hit and run - Misdemeanor
484 Theft (definition)
487 Grand theft (value >= $950, or certain livestock)
488 Petty theft (value < $950)
501 Drunk Driving - Felony (great bodily injury or death)
502 Drunk Driving
503 Auto theft
504 Tampering with a vehicle
505A Reckless driving
507 Public nuisance
510 Speeding or racing vehicles
586 Illegal parking
594 Malicious mischief
604 Throwing missiles
647 Lewd conduct (various subsections)
653M Threatening phone calls

Please note: "500" codes are only radio codes that substitute for other code sections. Example: a "503" is not Penal Code section 503 (which is Embezzlement). All of the "500" codes, generally, involve vehicles and are thus grouped together (except 594, which is a legitimate Penal Code). Additionally, "390" (and variants) are also radio codes only (CPC 647(f) is the legally enforced section "public intoxication").

In California, some radio codes in the 400–599 range that refer to vehicle violations are left over from the California Vehicle Code (CVC) which was revised in 1971. Some agencies, such as the California Highway Patrol (CHP) use the current vehicle code numbers while municipal and county police agencies, especially the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) still use the 500 series.

Old New Description
480 20001 Felony Hit and Run
481 20002 Misdemeanor Hit and Run
501 23151 Felony Drunk Driving
502 23152 Misdemeanor Drunk Driving[3]
503 10851 Stolen Vehicle (also a penal code section, 487A, Grand Theft Auto)
504 10854 Tampering with a Motor Vehicle
505 23103 Reckless Driving
510 23109 Speed Contest / Racing
586 22500 Illegal Parking

Phonetic alphabet[edit]

Note: California uses a phonetic alphabet distinct from some other states, such as Florida, that use the standard International Telecommunications Union (ITU) phonetic alphabet. Some California police agencies use a slightly different one, as listed here. Others, such as all police departments, the sheriff's department, harbor patrol, lifeguards, marshals, etc. in Orange County use the ITU phonetic alphabet.

Below is the "standard" police phonetic which usually only varies with the letter "Y" being either "Young" (LAPD-style) or "Yellow" (CHP-style). Federal law enforcement often uses a mix of the two (FBI-style) alphabets:[4]

Letter NATO phonetic alphabet Police Code
A Alpha Adam
B Bravo Boy
C Charlie Charles
D Delta David
E Echo Edward
F Foxtrot Frank
G Golf George
H Hotel Henry
I India Ida
J Juliet John
K Kilo King
L Lima Lincoln
M Mike Mary
N November Nora
O Oscar Ocean
P Papa Paul
Q Quebec Queen
R Romeo Robert
S Sierra Sam
T Tango Tom
U Uniform Union
V Victor Victor
W Whiskey William
X X-Ray X-Ray
Y Yankee Young / Yellow
Z Zulu Zebra

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Police Scanner Codes". 
  2. ^ In the 1970s, the television show Adam 12 was so authentic in its portrayal of Los Angeles PD officers and their procedures, that excerpts from the shows were used as police training films around the country. This led to widespread use of California Penal Codes as radio codes in states where "187" and "211" were not on the books, only on the air.
  3. ^ A drunk driver is often referred to as a "deuce". This comes from the "2" at the end of the original code, "502", and has, coincidentally(?), remained a code ending in "2": 23102, 23152. To this day, people will still say someone "got busted for a 502" yet there will be no law, reference, ticket or report with that number on it for drunk driving.
  4. ^ "Law Enforcement Phonetic Alphabets". 

Police scanner codes and both phonetic alphabets.

External links[edit]