[lg policy] Common Language Policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 19 17:16:51 UTC 2010

Common Language Policy


Public safety agencies throughout the United States have traditionally
used coded language (“aural brevity
codes” such as 10-codes) for communications. While use of codes
provides minimal radio security, it
dramatically increases the likelihood of confusion and
miscommunication when used between agencies or
across disciplines. The National incident Management System therefore
directs that common language
(heretofore called “plain language”) be used instead of coded language
for radio communication. Since
individuals’ behaviors during critical, high stress situations are
based upon their behavior during routine
activities, the use of common language at all times for all radio
communications ensures that it will be
properly used during high stress, multi-agency/multi-discipline incidents.


The <agency/region/state/UASI> adopts the use of “Common Language” in
lieu of coded language within the
<agency/region/state/UASI> area, except as noted below.


A. The use of common language communications is mandatory for all
radio transmissions made by any
agent, appointee or employee of a public agency within the
<agency/region/state/UASI> area where
such radio transmission is made using publicly owned or operated radio
equipment, with the
exceptions noted below in Paragraphs D, E and F.
B. While the use of coded language is prohibited by this policy, no
radio request made using coded
language shall be refused service by the intended recipient of that
radio transmission.
C. All public agencies within the <agency/region/state/UASI> should
adopt this policy by reference in
their respective standard operating procedure manuals and
general/standing orders.
D. The following aural brevity codes, selected because they are not
used throughout the Western United
States, are permitted for radio transmissions involving the safety of
officers and/or the public:
a. Signal 1: Holding transmission of sensitive information. Caller is
holding information
relating to a subject that may be within earshot.
b. Signal 2: Responder taking subject into custody. For use when a
responder wants to
alert a partner, other responders or dispatcher of the intention to
take a subject into custody
and resistance is anticipated, or as a directive to take the subject
into custody and to expect
c. Signal 3: Responder needs backup or assistance. Situation is
unstable, but without
immediate threat to life. Backup should expedite, but an overt request
could escalate the
d. Signal 4: Responder in immediate danger. A dispatcher or responder
has identified an
immediate threat that must be conveyed to a partner, other responders
or dispatcher without
alerting the subject.
E. The following response codes are commonly used throughout the
Western United States and can be
used by dispatch or field personnel to indicate the level of response required.
a. Code 1: Routine response. Respond as time permits.
b. Code 2: Urgent response. Respond immediately without use of red lights/siren.
c. Code 3: Emergency response. Respond immediately using red lights/siren.
d. Code 4: No further assistance/response needed.
F. State statutory code numbers (Business & Professions, Penal,
Vehicle, Welfare & Institutions, etc)
are common throughout the State of <State> and can be used to relay
the details of a particular
dispatch or incident type, including across disciplines where applicable.


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