What Are The 10 – Codes – Police Radio

Understanding Police Radio Talk What are the codes that Police use, you can hear them when you watch cops, everyone watches cops (if you don’t you should) and also general […]

Understanding Police Radio Talk

What are the codes that Police use, you can hear them when you watch cops, everyone watches cops (if you don’t you should) and also general radio talk like truckies use some of them.

10-4 ? Don’t know what that is then you are about to find out.

The code is known as “the ten code” because the actual code is preceded by the word “ten.” The origin and reason for this is unknown.The codes were developed initially in 1937 and were expanded in 1974.


While APCO International’s current position states that plain speech communications over public safety radio systems is preferred over the traditional 10-Codes and dispatch signals, an APCO Bulletin of January, 1940 lists 17 codes assigned as part of APCO Project 4; in 1973, APCO Project 14 provided a core list of codes from 10-1 to 10-39, with “optional” codes above 10-39.

One of the most Important pieces of Equipment for an Officer

A basic list (10-1 through 10-39) remains available on APCO’s site. Many additional codes have been added by individual local or regional first-response agencies; these are not standard across jurisdictions and may be problematic if multiple organizations must respond to the same incident. Only a handful of codes are standardized.

The use of codes continues, despite some pressure to use plain English to assist in clarity and operations among different agencies. Once in a while a agency will announce they’re switching away from codes.

But since many laws, ordinances and other regulations are stated in letter/number codes, many law enforcement agencies continue to use codes over-all.

List Of All 10-Codes Explained

10-0 Caution
10-1 Unable to copy -- change location
10-2 Signal good
10-3 Stop transmitting
10-4 Acknowledgement (OK)
10-5 Relay
10-6 Busy -- stand by unless urgent
10-7 Out of service
10-8 In service
10-9 Repeat
10-10 Fight in progress
10-11 Dog case
10-12 Stand by (stop)
10-13 Weather -- road report
10-14 Prowler report
10-15 Civil disturbance
10-16 Domestic disturbance
10-17 Meet complainant
10-18 Quickly
10-19 Return to ...
10-20 Location
10-21 Call ... by telephone
10-22 Disregard
10-23 Arrived at scene
10-24 Assignment completed
10-25 Report in person (meet) ...
10-26 Detaining subject, expedite
10-27 Drivers license information
10-28 Vehicle registration information
10-29 Check for wanted
10-30 Unnecessary use of radio
10-31 Crime in progress
10-32 Man with gun
10-33 Emergency
10-34 Riot
10-35 Major crime alert
10-36 Correct time
10-37 (Investigate) suspicious vehicle
10-38 Stopping suspicious vehicle
10-39 Urgent -- use light, siren
10-40 Silent run -- no light, siren
10-41 Beginning tour of duty
10-42 Ending tour of duty
10-43 Information
10-44 Permission to leave ... for ...
10-45 Animal carcass at ...
10-46 Assist motorist
10-47 Emergency road repairs at ...
10-48 Traffic standard repair at ...
10-49 Traffic light out at ...
10-50 Accident (fatal, personal injury, property damage)
10-51 Wrecker needed
10-52 Ambulance needed
10-53 Road blocked at ...
10-54 Livestock on highway
10-55 Suspected DUI
10-56 Intoxicated pedestrian
10-57 Hit and run (fatal, personal injury, property damage)
10-58 Direct traffic
10-59 Convoy or escort
10-60 Squad in vicinity
10-61 Isolate self for message
10-62 Reply to message
10-63 Prepare to make written copy
10-64 Message for local delivery
10-65 Net message assignment
10-66 Message cancellation
10-67 Clear for net message
10-68 Dispatch information
10-69 Message received
10-70 Fire
10-71 Advise nature of fire
10-72 Report progress on fire
10-73 Smoke report
10-74 Negative
10-75 In contact with ...
10-76 En route ...
10-77 ETA (estimated time of arrival)
10-78 Need assistance
10-79 Notify coroner
10-80 Chase in progress
10-81 Breathalyzer
10-82 Reserve lodging
10-83 Work school xing at ...
10-84 If meeting ... advise ETA
10-85 Delayed due to ...
10-86 Officer/operator on duty
10-87 Pick up/distribute checks
10-88 Present telephone number of ...
10-89 Bomb threat
10-90 Bank alarm at ...
10-91 Pick up prisoner/subject
10-92 Improperly parked vehicle
10-93 Blockade
10-94 Drag racing
10-95 Prisoner/subject in custody
10-96 Mental subject
10-97 Check (test) signal
10-98 Prison/jail break
10-99 Wanted/stolen indicated

Police Radio in Car

10-codes, police radio

Complete List of All Codes


Interesting Resources and Links Related to Police Radio

Click on the Image on the right –> to open it to full size, it has all the codes; 10 codes and all other important radio codes.

New York City Police Department
Radio Signal Codes, This is quite a old link but is detailed
For New York Codes Explained

This is a great website that has All the Police Fire and Emergency Codes, you can listen to scanners and it is full of great links to message boards radio channels and Government Services.

A Change From Ten Code To Plain Language

A Washington County Sheriff’s Department no longer will use the ten code, a system of talking with numbers that many law enforcement agencies use when conversing with each other and communications centers.

Ten codes, also known as ten signals, were developed in 1937 and expanded in 1974 by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International to allow for brevity and standardization of message traffic. They historically have been used by law enforcement officers in North America, although in 2005, the U.S. federal government recommended they be discontinued in favor of everyday language.

Over time, the meanings of the codes have become different for different agencies. For example, if a Washington County deputy got into an accident with his cruiser today, he would report to the communications center that he was 10-50.

But in Virginia, a 10-50 means an officer needs assistance. In Maryland, it means a traffic accident with injuries. In New York, 10-50 means a disorderly person.

A 10-79 call, depending on where it is made, can mean anything from a bomb threat to a missing bicycle.
Read the Whole article here

In 2005, the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) discouraged the use of ten-codes and other codes due to their high variability in meaning. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reportedly has plans to do away with 10-codes as well.

If you know more codes or new codes let us know.

10-4 Rubberducky!

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