Tuesday, July 31, 2007

10 codes

Besides some of the other fun peculiarities of the lingo of copland, some territories (usually larger cities than mine) also get the added bonus of heavy use of 10 codes over the airwaves.

These codes usually sound like 10-100 or 10-6 (or 10-4, good buddy, if you're one of *those* people), but can also start with other numbers. 1000, 5000, 100, 500, 9, 2, whatever.

You can sometimes find crib sheets to local 10 codes, but of course they're not always accurate (one Nashua sheet lists 9-8 as a disorderly crowd, but I've heard it many times for juveniles). I think the obvious value of 10 codes is that you can use them to quickly make unambiguous statements, which is handy during a riot, for example.

You might hear someone come over the scanner referring to a "9-1, going good," which usually means a domestic dispute that has turned into a donnybrook, or "subject is highly 9-2," which means somebody's whisky glass has been filled and emptied at least one too many times.

So one night, a slow night at work, one of my top 10 favorite people turns to me and says, "You know, maybe some day I can have some 9-8s, and they can get 9-2 and start some 9-1s."

As you can imagine, our jobs were nonstop action.

1 comment:

Johnny Yen said...

In the '70's, when CB radios were the rage (I admit I was a practicioneer), the "10" codes were also the rage. I knew many of them up through 20. We passed around "cheat sheets" at school.

There was also a gag one, with "10" codes for things like "you must be stoned off your ass" and "you must be keying the mike with your ass." Hey, it was the seventies.