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Correct police "lingo"

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Okay, I admit it -- I must be a total idiot not to be able to find these things, but I need a little help with the correct terminology that police officers would use over their radios. These are the specific instances I need, but if anyone knows of a link or site where I could find them myself, I'm more than willing to do the "leg" work!

Thanks:

1:
“Officer Abbott, [look up lingo here for taking a break.]”
“Ten-four, Officer Abbott. Hey, Joe, get me a cup of coffee while you're there?”
“Ten-four that cup of coffee, Jade. ETA, fifteen minutes.”
“Thanks, Joe.”


2:
“Pulling over a speeder. Run a plate for me?”
“Go ahead, Nick.”
“RHK...”


3:
“We've got a live one, guys! The 911 operators received a call from a panicked receptionist at the TV station. Seems a suicide bomber is standing in the middle of the main newsroom.”

4:
...armed robbery in progress, Toyz4All toy store, multiple armed perpetrators, multiple hostages...

5:
“Possible domestic violence. 1512 Old Crescent Lane.”

6:
“Silent alarm, robbery in progress, First Federal Bank, 111 Main Street.”
…...
“False alarm. Repeat, false alarm. Cancel call for robbery at First Federal Bank.”

7:
Jumper, possible hostage situation
#1 - April 13, 2012, 07:35 AM
http://debifaulkner.blogspot.com/

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WereWhat?, coming August 20

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I can ask a friend.  My first thought is that they're wordy, esp. #3.  They use those 10- tags for a lot more than just 10-4.

#2 - April 13, 2012, 07:46 AM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Thanks, Anne Marie~

(I was really using them more as place-holders saying what I want to have said in that spot rather than as what would be even close to appropriate.)  :)
#3 - April 13, 2012, 09:06 AM
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LilyPad Princess, for 7-9 year olds
WereWhat?, coming August 20

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If you possibly can, I would try to find a cop in the region of your story and ask them directly. It's been my experience that officers in different departments (e.g., city cop vs. county sheriff, for instance) tend to have different habits and short-hand with their dispatchers, and I'd be willing to bet there is wide regional variation, too.

I was doing some research in a locale related to one of my WIPs and, since it was a small town, just took my nerve and walked into the police station to ask questions, and the officer there was super helpful -- and if there was an overriding theme to the conversation, it was that "most of what you see on TV and in the movies is pure crap; here's what I would really do and say in that situation."
#4 - April 13, 2012, 09:34 AM
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 02:55 PM by Joni »
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Agree with asking an officer for the most expert opinion on your final copy.

Also, I have a "police scanner" app on my iPhone (yes, I'm a nerd) and they do have a code for everything, so instead of saying "possible domestic violence" they say "10-whatever the number is" at whatever place, like Anne Marie says.  The app lists the scanner codes.  It's called "Emergency Radio Free," if you're interested.  There are a number of similar ones.

From listening to them talk, they seem to favor short, cryptic (to me--"to the point" for them), and unemotional.  So #3 sounds too chatty, as AM said.
#5 - April 13, 2012, 10:16 AM

Thanks everyone!

My location is a fictional little town near the great lakes somewhere. I guess I could try to find a small town somewhere in that region.

My biggest problem is that I'd have to do it by phone, because I'm currently in Europe (and the Nederland police would say completely different things and in Dutch!). Ha!
#6 - April 13, 2012, 10:39 AM
http://debifaulkner.blogspot.com/

Summoning, a YA novel
Murphy's Law, a MG novel
LilyPad Princess, for 7-9 year olds
WereWhat?, coming August 20

Most agencies use 10-codes and Signal Codes, but since they vary by agency some are turning to plain-talk. In general, 10-codes are for actions, Signals identify what kind of call it is "I'm 10-8" in my old agency meant "I'm in service and ready for a call. 10-18 meant riding with lights and sirens activated. A Signal 24 was a burglary, Signal 35 an animal call, and so forth. Some are used for convenience and brevity (it is a cardinal rule of law enforcement to never take up more air time than necessary) and others so people nearby won't know what you're talking about. If you are with a suspicious person and you think he is armed, you could say "10-12 Signal 13, possible Signal 0, 10-94" and he wouldn't know you were on to him and that backup was on the way. It's embarassing to have a suspect hear that he has a warrant over an open mic and take off running, when if dispatch had used a code, he could be easily arrested.

Of course, using full code-talk in a manuscript would probably be off-putting (I've tried) but a few strategic scatterings would be okay. Remember, most transmissions aren't chatty, and they usually use a sector ID instead of a name.

They rarely give out a lot of information over the radio because reporters can scan and get on scene too fast. As a rookie I once offered the information that there was a lot of blood on scene, and five news vans were there before our own forensics people. Most non-essential communication (like asking for a cup of coffee) is done over in-car laptop or cell phone. Call information could come across on the laptop, and the dispatcher would only announce it over the air if it was a hot call that needed multiple units, or if they had updated information once the officer was en route. For running the vehicle tag, in all but the smallest agencies they could do it themselves on their computer, without using the radio. (They would call out the actual stop, though -- "Harbor 3, 10-50, at County Road 611 and Main, on a white Mustang, Florida tag XXO112, registered owner DWLSR")

Also, the codes are altered and used conversationally by law enforcement. So using the above example of 10-8, someone who is getting agitated and about to fight is "looking 10-8". 10-42 means the officer's home, and by extention 10-42-and-a-half became code for the officer's spouse. A signal 3 is a hit and run, and young male officers would sometimes use this to refer to, um, short-term casual aquaintances with women.

Send me a message if you need anything more specific!
#7 - April 13, 2012, 02:08 PM
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Liz
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http://www.policecodes.org/police-10-codes
http://spiffy.ci.uiuc.edu/~kline/Stuff/ten-codes.html

Most departments have computers in their cars now, only a very few do not. It will be small towns and even those are getting grants from agency's to have computers in cars which is why many police department go to "plain speak" when they are on a special channel on their own frequency.  However, when they do not want the public they are dealing with to know what they are talking about, or to know if something major is going down, they use the 10 codes, it is also an easy way for everyone to understand the situation. 

On Hulu there is a show called Academy, which shows the Los Angles Sheriffs department training facility taking a class through its complete eightteen weeks of training.  You can pick up a lot of information from watching that show.  Also interesting just to see how deputies are trained.
 modified to add:  The second show is more informative on the laws and codes.
 
#8 - April 13, 2012, 05:50 PM
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 08:28 PM by lizstraw »
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We used some 10 codes when I worked at Dial-a-Ride (a passenger van service). 10-7 was a lunch break; 10-44 was a short one (like a "pit stop"). We used 10-20 (location) a lot, as in, "What's your 10-20?" 10-19 meant it was time to go home.   :cool   
#9 - April 13, 2012, 09:43 PM

You guys are the BEST!  :grouphug2

I got exactly what I needed through a very helpful former officer.

Now to integrate it into the ms. without flubbing it too badly...
#10 - April 13, 2012, 11:21 PM
http://debifaulkner.blogspot.com/

Summoning, a YA novel
Murphy's Law, a MG novel
LilyPad Princess, for 7-9 year olds
WereWhat?, coming August 20

http://www.policecodes.org/police-10-codes
http://spiffy.ci.uiuc.edu/~kline/Stuff/ten-codes.html

On Hulu there is a show called Academy, which shows the Los Angles Sheriffs department training facility taking a class through its complete eightteen weeks of training.  You can pick up a lot of information from watching that show.  Also interesting just to see how deputies are trained.
 modified to add:  The second show is more informative on the laws and codes.
 

Thanks for those lists, Liz -- those are awesome! Unfortunately, I can't watch Hulu (I'm out of their "area" and everything is blocked).

Laura, Thanks for all of that! I was directed toward a former officer and she "translated" my sections for me.

Jaina, There's and iPhone app? Hmm.... (I'm a nerd, too)

Yarnspinner and Joni, Thanks so much! And Joni, I see we're expecting you to come to the Netherlands in June! I'm hoping to be able to come to your workshop, and we can actually meet in person!
#11 - April 13, 2012, 11:26 PM
http://debifaulkner.blogspot.com/

Summoning, a YA novel
Murphy's Law, a MG novel
LilyPad Princess, for 7-9 year olds
WereWhat?, coming August 20

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And Joni, I see we're expecting you to come to the Netherlands in June! I'm hoping to be able to come to your workshop, and we can actually meet in person!

That'll be fun! :)
#12 - April 14, 2012, 12:12 PM
The Farwalker Trilogy
The Humming of Numbers
Reality Leak

www.jonisensel.com

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