No more 10-4? 3/11/14

Police-badge-genericYou might think 40 hours a week of ‘cop-talk’ would be enough for anyone, but I often listen to Visalia PD broadcasts when I’m out and about.  Other folks might have the stereo thumping, or be yakking on a cell phone as they drive around Visalia (hands free, of course!  right??), but I’ll tune my Ham radio to the VPD channel to see what’s up.  Most of the time it’s the same stuff I put out over the radio at my agency.  Noise complaints, fights, traffic accidents, medical aid calls, and the occasional robbery.  A lot of the radio traffic we each have sounds about the same.

Recently, there’s been a rather interesting change over at VPD.

They’ve quit using the ten-codes.  They still use their “check 7”, “code 32”, and the like, but the formerly ubiquitous ten-code has vanished.  Now the radio traffic is much more wordy, with “license, registration, and warrant check” replacing “27, 28, and 29” (we often drop the “10-” part).

Many agencies around the country are going to “plain talk” formats, which helps when you have a multi-agency incident in progress.  Not everyone uses the same codes (CHP uses a really odd 11-code), and while 10-4 is almost universal, I’ve seen some agencies back east that have completely different definitions.  It could be a real mess in an emergency, so there’s been a movement lately to get away from codes altogether.  I suppose that’s a good idea, but if we ever dump the ten-code system it’s going to be really hard for me to switch.  I’ve been dispatching for almost 20 years now using those codes, and listening to the scanner for almost 20 years prior to that.  Those codes are ingrained, and, as most dispatchers will attest, our families and friends have to learn some of them because they’ll pop out of our mouths at any time, regardless whether we’re at work at our consoles, or sitting at home on the couch.  In the sometimes hectic dispatch center they’re going to sneak out no matter how hard we try to avoid them.  (Kudos to VPD’s dispatchers and officers.  I’ve only heard a few slip-ups letting the “tens” out over the air since the change.)

I miss Visalia PD’s “10-4″s though…  mostly because I find the replacement, “COPY”, really annoying after a while.

You can listen to the Visalia Police Department on your computer at this site:
Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Channel 1 (south end of the county), here:
Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Channel 2 (north end of the county), here:

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