Police code

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A police code is a number abbreviation for a crime, incident or instructions for police officers.

The Hundred Code[edit]

The Hundred Code[1] is a three digit police code system. This code is usually pronounced digit-by-digit, using a radio alphabet for any letters, as 505 "five zero five" or 207A "two zero seven Adam".

The following codes are used in California;[2] most are from the California Penal Code (except as noted below):

CodeDescription
187Homicide
207Kidnapping
207AKidnapping attempt
211Robbery
211ARobbery alarm
211SRobbery alarm, silent
213Use of illegal explosives
215Carjacking
217Assault with intent to murder
219Cutting
227Public Indecency with Handicapped
227DPublic Indecency with Handicapped unconscious
240Assault
242Battery
245Assault with a deadly weapon
246Shooting at inhabited dwelling
261Rape
261AAttempted rape
273AChild neglect
273DDomestic violence - Felony
288Lewd conduct
311Indecent exposure
314Indecent exposure
374BIllegal dumping
390Drunk
390DDrunk, unconscious
415Disturbance
417Person with a gun
417KPerson with a knife
419Dead human body
428Child Molest
444Officer-Involved Shooting
459Burglary
459ABurglar alarm
459SBurglar alarm, silent
470Forgery
480Hit and run - Felony (great bodily injury or death)
481Hit and run - Misdemeanor
484Theft (definition)
487Grand theft (value >= $950, or certain livestock)
488Petty theft (value < $950)
501Drunk Driving - Felony (great bodily injury or death)
502Drunk Driving
503Auto theft
504Tampering with a vehicle
505AReckless driving
507Public nuisance
510Speeding or racing vehicles
586Illegal parking
594Malicious mischief
604Throwing missiles
647Lewd conduct (various subsections)
653MThreatening phone calls

Please note: "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.

OldNewDescription
48020001Felony Hit and Run
48120002Misdemeanor Hit and Run
50123151Felony Drunk Driving
50223152Misdemeanor Drunk Driving[3]
50310851Stolen Vehicle (also a penal code section, 487A, Grand Theft Auto)
50410854Tampering with a Motor Vehicle
50523103Reckless Driving
51023109Speed Contest / Racing
58622500Illegal Parking

Phonetic Alphabet[edit]

Note: 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:[4]

LetterInternational CodePolice Code
AAlphaAdam
BBravoBoy
CCharlieCharlie
DDeltaDavid
EEchoEdward
FFoxtrotFrank
GGolfGeorge
HHotelHenry
IIndiaIda
JJulietJohn
KKiloKing
LLimaLincoln
MMikeMary
NNovemberNora
OOscarOcean
PPapaPaul
QQuebecQueen
RRomeoRobert
SSierraSam
TTangoTom
UUniformUnion
VVictorVictor
WWhiskeyWilliam
XX-RayX-Ray
YYankeeYoung / Yellow
ZZuluZebra

Cultural references[edit]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Police Scanner Codes". 
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Law Enforcement Phonetic Alphabets". 
  5. ^ California Penal Code Section 347

External links[edit]