What Is 10 4 Police Code

What Is 10-4 Police Code?

The 10-4 police code is a system of radio communication codes used by law enforcement agencies in the United States. These codes are used to facilitate efficient and effective communication between officers, dispatchers, and other personnel. The 10-4 code, in particular, is one of the most well-known codes and is widely recognized by the general public.

Origin and Meaning of 10-4 Code:

The 10-4 code originated from the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) in the 1930s. It was developed to provide a standardized method of communication, allowing officers to quickly relay information without confusion. The code consists of a two-digit number, with the first digit representing a general category and the second digit indicating a specific message.

The 10-4 code specifically means “affirmative” or “message received.” It is used as a response to confirm that a message has been received and understood. For example, if an officer receives instructions from a dispatcher, they would respond with “10-4” to indicate they have understood the message and will comply.


Q: How widely is the 10-4 code used?
A: The 10-4 code is widely used by law enforcement agencies across the United States. It is also recognized and understood by many members of the public due to its portrayal in popular culture.

Q: Are there other codes used in police communication?
A: Yes, there are numerous other codes used in police communication. These codes cover a wide range of situations and messages, such as requesting backup, reporting an accident, or providing a suspect description. Each code is designed to convey specific information quickly and efficiently.

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Q: Can civilians use the 10-4 code?
A: While the 10-4 code is widely recognized, it is generally not used by civilians in regular conversation. However, it may be used in certain contexts, such as in the trucking industry, where “10-4” is used as a general acknowledgment of understanding.

Q: Is the 10-4 code the same worldwide?
A: No, the 10-4 code is specific to the United States and may have variations in other countries. Different countries and law enforcement agencies often use their own set of codes tailored to their specific needs.

Q: How important is the 10-4 code in police work?
A: The 10-4 code, along with other communication codes, plays a crucial role in police work. It allows officers to quickly convey information, coordinate responses, and ensure clear communication between team members. Efficient communication is vital in emergency situations and can greatly impact the safety and effectiveness of law enforcement operations.

Q: Are there any drawbacks to using communication codes?
A: While communication codes are generally beneficial, there can be some drawbacks. Misinterpretation of codes due to regional variations or confusion can occur. Additionally, the use of codes may create a barrier between law enforcement and the public, as some codes are not widely understood by civilians.

In conclusion, the 10-4 police code is a fundamental part of communication in law enforcement agencies. It allows officers to quickly acknowledge receipt of a message, ensuring efficient and effective coordination. While the code is widely recognized, it is not commonly used by civilians in everyday conversations. Understanding the 10-4 code, along with other communication codes, can provide insights into the world of law enforcement and the importance of clear and concise communication in emergency situations.

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