||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with California and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
A police code is a number abbreviation for a crime, incident or instructions for police officers.
The Hundred Code
|211S||Robbery alarm, silent|
|213||Use of illegal explosives|
|217||Assault with intent to murder|
|227||Public Indecency with Handicapped|
|227D||Public Indecency with Handicapped unconscious|
|245||Assault with a deadly weapon|
|246||Shooting at inhabited dwelling|
|273D||Domestic violence - Felony|
|417||Person with a gun|
|417K||Person with a knife|
|419||Dead human body|
|459S||Burglar alarm, silent|
|480||Hit and run - Felony (great bodily injury or death)|
|481||Hit and run - Misdemeanor|
|487||Grand theft (value >= $950, or certain livestock)|
|488||Petty theft (value < $950)|
|501||Drunk Driving - Felony (great bodily injury or death)|
|504||Tampering with a vehicle|
|510||Speeding or racing vehicles|
|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.
|480||20001||Felony Hit and Run|
|481||20002||Misdemeanor Hit and Run|
|501||23151||Felony Drunk Driving|
|502||23152||Misdemeanor Drunk Driving|
|503||10851||Stolen Vehicle (also a penal code section, 487A, Grand Theft Auto)|
|504||10854||Tampering with a Motor Vehicle|
|510||23109||Speed Contest / Racing|
Note: California uses a distinct phonetic alphabet from other states such as Florida, which uses the standard military 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 military 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:
|Letter||Military Code||Police Code|
|Y||Yankee||Young / Yellow|
- In RoboCop, out on his first patrol, the titular character receives the message "415 in Progress" (which means Disturbance in progress) on his integral heads-up display.
- In the Cheech and Chong film Up in Smoke, Sgt. Stedenko, played by Stacy Keach Jr., calls in the message, "We’re changing from a code 3, direct pursuit, to a code 347…completely lost due to incompetence". (In reality, penal code 347 for California, where the film is set, concerns the mingling of poisons or harmful substances with food, drink, medicine, or water supplies).
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Vendetta", Joey "The Snail" Martin is mentioned as having been arrested on a "605".
References and notes
- "Police Scanner Codes".
- 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.
- 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.
- "Law Enforcement Phonetic Alphabets".
- California Penal Code Section 347