skip navigation

Add your conference to our Justice Events calendar


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

  NCJ Number: NCJ 231114     Find in a Library
  Title: Ten-Four No More? Law Enforcement Agencies Are Phasing Out Old Radio Codes
  Document URL: PDF 
  Corporate Author: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
  Date Published: 10/2010
  Page Count: 2
  Annotation: This paper guides police agencies in transitioning from the use of the 10-code (e.g., “10-13” as a code for officer in trouble) to the use of “plain language” in radio communications about incidents to which police are called to respond, so as to facilitate radio communications across jurisdictions.
  Abstract: Although the 10-codes emerged to provide efficient and coded messages among police officers in their radio communications, they were not standardized, meaning the codes differed in meaning among jurisdictions. Agencies must be able to communicate effectively across jurisdictional lines, and using plain language in communications facilitates clarity in radio communications. There are essential components for a successful transition to plain-language communications. First, law enforcement executives must develop a plan that outlines the necessary steps. Second, each agency should be allowed to keep a small subset of agency-specific codes that are understood by officers, but not by the public. This is necessary for incidents which police decide should be hidden from offenders and the general public who might overhear police radio communications. Third, some existing plain language can become standardized; for example, “stolen car” may be referred to as a GLA (grand larceny auto) or some other term in adjacent jurisdictions. In outlining issues to consider, the paper advises that for plain language to be effective, it must be comprehensive and compulsory, meaning that agencies must use it for all radio transmissions, not just during mutual-aid events. In outlining the benefits of using plain language in radio communications, the paper advises that in addition to making communications clearer across jurisdictional and agency radio communications, it may reduce the anxiety experienced by many new officers, who are required to memorize codes; it should also reduce their training time. 2 resources for more information
  Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
  Index Term(s): Radio ten codes ; Police telecommunications systems ; Interagency cooperation ; Change management ; Police planning
  Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
  Type: Issue Overview
  Country: United States of America
  Language: English
  Note: NIJ In Short
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.