Police Scanner Codes Meanings

Police scanner codes
12th Sep,2023

Now that you have your own police scanner, you find that some conversations make little to no sense, especially when they’re coming from law enforcement agencies. Things like “Code blue” and “10-7” might have you scratching your head. If you don’t understand these things, you won’t get the full use out of your device.

To eliminate all this confusion, we’ve listed every police scanner code used by officers below.

Police Scanner Codes Tables

Code 2 Urgent – no light or siren
Code 3 Use lights and siren
Code 4 No further assistance needed
Code 5 Stakeout
Code 6 Stay out of area
Code 7 Meal break
Code 8 Restroom break
Code 9 Summer uniform
Code 10 SWAT pre-call up
Code 11 SWAT call up
Code 37 Subject/property wanted

Police Scanner Ten Codes

10-00 Officer down, all patrols respond
10-0 Caution
10-1 Reception poor
10-2 Reception good
10-3 Stop transmitting
10-4 Message received, understood
10-5 Repay message
10-6 Change channel
10-7 Out of service
10-7A Out of service, home
10-7B Out of service, personal
10-8 In service
10-9 Repeat last message
10-10 Off duty
10-10A Off duty, home
10-11 Identify frequency
10-12 Visitor(s) present
10-13 Weather and road advice
10-14 Citizen w/suspect
10-15 Prisoner in custody
10-16 Pick up prisoner
10-17 Request for gasoline
10-18 Equipment exchange
10-19 Return(ing) to station
10-20 Location
10-21 Telephone
10-21A Advise home I will return at ____
10-22 Disregard last assignment
10-23 Stand by
10-24 Request car-to-car transmit
10-25 Do you have contact with ____
10-26 Clear
10-27 D.D.L. report
10-28 Registration request
10-29 Check for wants
10-29F Subject wanted, felony
10-29H Hazard potential from subject
10-29M Subject wanted, misdemeanor
10-29V Vehicle wanted
10-30 Doesn’t conform to regulations
10-32 Drowning
10-33 Alarm sounding, audible
10-34 Assist at office
10-35 Time check
10-36 Confidential information
10-37 Identify operator
10-39 Can ____ come to the radio?
10-40 Is ____ available for phone call?
10-42 Check the welfare of/at ____
10-43 Call a doctor
10-45 Condition of patient?
10-45A Condition of patient: good
10-45B Condition of patient: serious
10-45C Condition: critical
10-45D Condition: dead
10-49 Proceed to ____
10-50 Under influence of drugs
10-51 Drunk
10-52 Resuscitator
10-53 Man down
10-54 Possible dead body
10-55 Coroner case
10-56 Suicide
10-56A Suicide attempt
10-57 Missing person
10-59 Security check
10-60 Lock-out
10-61 Miscellaneous public service
10-62 Meet a citizen
10-62A Take a report from a citizen
10-62B Civilian standby
10-63 Prepare to copy
10-64 Found property
10-66 Suspicious person
10-67 Person calling for help
10-68 Telephone for police
10-70 Prowler
10-71 Shooting
10-72 Gun involved
10-73 How do you receive?
10-79 Bomb threat
10-80 Explosion
10-86 Any radio traffic?
10-88 Assume post
10-91 Animal
10-91A Animal, stray
10-91B Animal, noisy
10-91C Animal, injured
10-91D Animal, dead
10-91E Animal, bite
10-91G Animal, pickup
10-91J Animal, pickup collect
10-91L Animal, leash law violation
10-91V Animal, vicious
10-95 Requesting ID tech unit
10-97 Arrived at scene
10-98 Available to assign
10-99 Warrants or stolen vehicle indicated
10-100 Misdemeanor warrant
10-109 Suicide
10-200 Drugs involved
10-600 Livestock down
10-1000 Felony warrant

Police Scanner Eleven Codes

11-10 Take report
11-24 Abandoned vehicle
11-25 Traffic hazard
11-26 Abandoned bicycle
11-27 D.D.L. report with driver held
11-28 Registration request with driver held
11-40 Advise if ambulance needed
11-41 Ambulance needed
11-42 No ambulance needed
11-48 Furnish transportation
11-51 Escort
11-52 Funeral detail
11-54 Suspicious vehicle
11-55 Officer being followed by auto
11-56 Office being followed by auto dangerous persons
11-57 Unidentified auto at assignments
11-58 Radio monitored, use phone
11-59 Intensive attention: high hazard, business areas
11-60 Attack in high hazard area
11-65 Signal light out
11-66 Defective traffic signal light
11-78 Aircraft accident
11-79 Accident – ambulance sent
11-80 Accident – major injuries
11-81 Accident – minor injuries
11-82 Accident – no injuries
11-83 Accident – no detail
11-84 Manual traffic control requested
11-85 Tow truck requested
11-86 Bomb threat
11-87 Bomb found
11-94 Pedestrian stop
11-95 Routine traffic stop
11-96 Checking suspicious vehicle
11-97 Time/security check on patrol
11-98 Meet ____
11-99 Under attack, immediate assistance required!

Police Scanner Penal Codes

Police scanner penal codes are formulated to keep communications fast and efficient. Penal codes may also be exclusive to some departments like fire, emergency services, and the like.

187 Homicide
207 Kidnapping
207A Kidnapping attempt
211 Robbery
211A Robbery alarm
211S Robbery alarm, silent
217 Assault with intent to murder
240 Assault
242 Battery
245 Assault with a deadly weapon
245b Assault against a peace officer with a deadly weapon
246 Shooting at an inhabited dwelling
261 Rape
261A Attempted rape
273A Child neglect
273D Felony wife beating
288  Lewd conduct
311 Indecent exposure
314 Indecent exposure
374B Illegal dumping
390 Drunk
390D Drunk, unconscious
415 Disturbance
417 A person with a gun
417A A person with a knife
459 Burglary
459A Burglar alarm
459S Burglar alarm, silent
470 Forgery
480 Hit and run, felony
481 Hit and run, misdemeanor
484 Petty theft
487 Grand theft
488 Petty theft
502 Drunk driving
503 Auto theft
504 Tampering with a vehicle
505 Reckless driving
507 Public nuisance
510 Speeding or racing vehicles
586 Illegal parking
594 Malicious mischief
595 Runaway car
604 Throwing missiles
647 Lewd conduct
653M Threatening phone calls
5150 Mental case
10851 Auto theft
10852 Tampering with vehicle
20001 Hit and run, felony
20002 Hit and run, misdemeanor
20007 Hit and run, unattended
21958 Drunk pedestrian on the roadway
22350 Speeding
22500 Illegal parking
23101 Drunk driving – injuries
23102 Drunk driving
23103 Reckless driver
23104 Reckless driver
23105 Driver under narcotics
23109 Racing
23110 A person throwing objects at vehicles
23151 Drunk driving – injuries
23152 Drunk driver

Police Scanner Color Codes

Code Blue Bus or taxi in trouble
Code Red VARDA (Voice Activated Radio Dispatched Alarm) activated
Code Purple Gang activity

Medical / Fire Status Codes

Code 10 Critical trauma case
Code 20 Acute trauma case
Code 30 Trauma case
Code 40 Serious case (IV started)
Code 50 Basic transport (not serious)
Code N Newsworthy event

What are Police Scanner Codes?

police talking on the radio

The words and numbers that made it to your scanner radio (or your smartphone, if you have any of these top police scanner apps) are collectively called police scanner codes.

Number or color codes were devised to refer to particular situations encountered by the police, firemen, and the like – but in an abbreviated way.

The use of these in a call has obvious benefits, such as being direct with the circumstance at hand and giving the information a veil of secrecy, no matter how thin. Of course, there are some things they don’t want the public to hear.

Codes reduce speech on radio so available services can address the situation in the fastest time possible. However, their use has not been practical in certain instances.

Do the Codes Apply to All Radio Users?

It’s important to note that the codes used on police radio are not universal. Sometimes, the police may also use direct abbreviations like ADW for “assault with a deadly weapon” instead of code 245.

While there are standardized codes, certain states and even particular departments (such as fire or emergencies) might require some codes to be more specific to them. The purpose is to help with differentiation.

Now, if you don’t have a police scanner yet, you can check this page for options.

photo of a trucker using a police scanner

Private citizens also often have their own set of codes. This lack of uniformity in the whole nation led the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to not recommend the use of the codes on the radio in 2005.

Why Does the Police Use Codes?

Police scanner codes, specifically those in use by law enforcement agencies, originated in the 1940s. The first set was standardized and consequently published by the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO).

Today, however, some of the codes were replaced and used with simpler terms to prevent having to refer to the set often, especially considering that the lists are usually hefty. Newer codes also placed a priority on becoming brief yet clear because older codes failed to give a short yet holistic indication of what is happening.

photo of a firefighter

The codes are meant to help and address a myriad of emergencies, such as fire situations, burglaries, road accidents, medical accidents, and bomb threats. They can be numeric, or expressed by way of colors to give information.

You have learned what the law enforcement codes are for by referring to the list we have above. Those are the most commonly used codes in the United States:

William Johnson

William Johnson is the owner and founder of RatedRadarDetector.org. He writes about car accessories, with his passion stemming from a deep enthusiasm for all things automotive. His website, RRD, focuses on in-depth reviews of car accessories to help people find the best and latest products in the market.