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Radio Codes

Before the days of digital encryption and all that fun stuff, anyone doing anything they wanted to be kept private on the radio had to resort to using codes.  While in todays world, the use of digital encryption is rampant, sometimes it is not practical to use such technologies.  Therefore we still have codes.


The following is a list of all of the codes I use.  I will start with 10 codes, and then the Phonetic Alphabet, and then Spinning Codes.

Ten Codes




  • 10-1  Message unreadable

  • 10-2  Signal is good

  • 10-3  Stop transmitting

  • 10-4  Message understood

  • 10-5  Relay information to ______

  • 10-6  Busy / Unavailable

  • 10-7  Out of Service / On Scene

  • 10-8  In Service / On Standby / Ready for a Call.

  • 10-9  Repeat Last Message

  • 10-19 Return to Station

  • 10-20 Unit Location

  • 10-21 Call _____ via a landline (telephone)

  • 10-50 Traffic Accident (10-50PD for Property Damage; 10-50PI for Personal Injury; 10-50F for Fatality)

  • 10-51 Tow Truck needed

  • 10-52 Ambulance (Paramedics) needed

  • 10-53 Road Closure

  • 10-54 Animals on Highway

  • 10-55 DWI (Intoxicated Driver)

  • 10-92 Subject in custody

  • 10-99 Officer down

  • 10-100 Bathroom, or Fuel break


Phonetic Alphabet




  • Alpha

  • Bravo

  • Charlie

  • Delta

  • Echo

  • Foxtrot

  • Golf

  • Hotel

  • India

  • Juliet

  • Kilo

  • Lima

  • Mike

  • November

  • Oscar

  • Papa

  • Quebec

  • Romeo

  • Sierra

  • Tango

  • Uniform

  • Victor

  • Whiskey

  • X-Ray

  • Yankee

  • Zulu


Spinning Codes


Spinning is the name given to the detail of following a suspect under surveillance, with several unmarked units.  Each unit will take turns at following, and spin in and out of the role of following the suspect.  I don't usually follow suspects, but these codes are still fun to use.

They also get their name because they are ad-lib and able to be spun around based on the situation at hand.

Street Names:


Street names are handled in an interesting manner in this system.  You basically take the last letter of the name itself (minus the street type) and then stick it in front of the first 2 letters of the name.


So lets take Main Street for example.  Main Street would be NMA.


Richmond Ave.  DRI


South Park Drive.  KSO


Fairly simple right?




  • Stop Sign = 8 Sider

  • Red Light = Fire in the Sky

  • New Green Light = Fresh Water

  • Advanced Green Light = Dripping (or Flashing) Water

  • old Green Light (been green for a long time) = Stale Water

  • Traffic = Tragic

  • Marked Cop Car = Bubble

  • Right = Davis

  • Left = Lewis

  • South = Birdie Bound, or Home

  • North = Beaver Bound, or 2nd Base

  • East = Boston Bound, or 1st Base

  • West = Berkeley Bound, or 3rd Base

  • Parking Lights = Lanterns

  • Headlights = Blinders

  • Drive through an intersection (i.e. just passed through ___ ) = Through and Through / TNT

  • Highway ramp = Slide

  • Bridge (over) = Over the Under

  • Bridge or Tunnel (under) = Under the Over

  • Railway Tracks = Stitches

  • McDonald's = Arches

  • Tim Horton's = Tango Hotel

  • Lane # = Slot # (the # is counted from the center of the road out.  Center Turn Lanes are usually referred to as a Lewis Lane)

  • Speed = # in the bag.  (# being a rounded speed count.  For Canadian roads,  rounded to the nearest 10km/h and drop the 0 - i.e.   4 in the bag is about 40 km/h;  For American roads, rounded to the nearest mph and dropped the 0 - i.e. 4 in the bag is about 40 mph)

  • Visual = Eye (When a unit has the Eye, the unit has a visual on the suspect)

  • Indirect Visual - or Traffic = Shade (Shade usually refers to the cars between the spinning unit and the suspect.  This shade offers the spinning unit some protection from becoming too suspicious, and thus the spinning unit can maintain an eye on the suspect for longer without risking blowing his cover).

  • Lost Sight = TOS (Target out of Sight)

  • Speeding / Accelerating Quickly = Burning, or Push

  • Breaking / Stopping = Binding

  • Home, Station or other 'Starting Point' or 'Origin' for the Suspect (or Police) = Nest

  • Diverging the path and doubling back to check for cars following = Heat Check

  • To be seen (cover blown) = Burn, or Burnt


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