A police code is a numerical abbreviation for a crime, incident, or instructions for police officers.
|121||Priority on the air|
|122||Priority on silence|
|123||Sick or injured person|
|127||Proceed with caution|
|128||No siren, no flashing|
|129||Request back up|
|133||Possibly dangerous person|
|136||Hold of hostages|
|143||Hit and run|
|146||Introduction (vehicle or residence)|
|211S||Robbery alarm, silent|
|213||Use of illegal explosives|
|217||Assault with intent to murder|
|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|
|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|
Note that "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|
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:
|Letter||NATO phonetic alphabet||Police code|
|Y||Yankee||Young / Yellow|
References and notes
- "Quebec Scanning". Quebec Scanning. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
- "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".