Police Code for Everything
We've got a 20-26, someone's trying to describe Police Code For Everything here!
The Monster of the Week
has grown to the size of a skyscraper
, and is currently rampaging through New York
, carrying a load of Noodle Implements
. He's even kidnapped the Designated Victim
. A police officer on scene calmly pulls out his radio and announces "We've got a 10-340".
No matter how obscure, improbable, or downright weird
an event is, the Crazy-Prepared
department has a code for it. Furthermore, everyone will have the code memorized and are expected to know instantly what the code means - they might have even trained for its eventual use. It may be that their beat is a City of Weirdos
or the City of Adventure
, so they come to expect giant apes fighting among the stampeding warthogs again
More often than not, this Trope can go hand-in-hand with the Police Are Useless
Trope, because despite having a code for everything, they still manage to mess up.
. Sister Trope
to Code Emergency
, where a pre-arranged code is used for clandestine communication.
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- In Stan Freberg's "St. George and the Dragonet", St. George finally nabs the fire-breathing dragon on these charges:
St. George: I'm taking you in on a 502. You figure it out.
Dragon: What's the charge?
St. George: Devouring maidens out of season.
Dragon: Out of season?!? You'll never pin that rap on me!! Do you hear me, COP?!?!
St. George: Yeah, I hear you. I got you on a 412 too.
Dragon: A 412!!! What's a 412?!?!?
St. George: Over-acting. Let's go.
- In Stan Freberg's "Christmas Dragnet," a man named Grudge is brought in on a 4096325-096704: not believing in Santa Claus. Wednesday had previously brought him in on a 1492: not believing in Columbus.
- Uncanny X-Men Issue 366:
Cop #1: Someone call the Avengers or somethin'—
Cop #2: And tell 'em what? A polite robot just walked into the U.N.?
Cop #3: (into radio) — got a 4-3-7- at the U.N. —
- Green Lantern shows that this trope is in effect for Space Police, too. 1011, for example, is Deicide.
- In Discworld, the Diary for the Ankh-Morpork City Watch includes a list of pigeon codes, including one which means "The previous pigeon was eaten by a gargoyle officer, please resend".
- There's a naval variation in Good Omens: after trying to find the way to communicate that he's found a sunken city of pyramids, he looks through "international codes" and sends "XXXV QVVX" which means "Have found the lost city of Atlantis. High Priest has just won the Quoits contest."
- In one of Robert Rankin's Armageddon novels, there is an extended joke sequence with two policemen discussing which ridiculous thing that's just happened is which code. At the end, it is revealed that there is a specific code for "a demon-possessed vehicle in a towaway zone".
- From a Dave Barry column:
A tom turkey crashed through the windshield of a dump truck early Monday in Butler County and struck a fighting posture with the surprised driver...Fortunately, the driver was able to escape and call the police, who responded swiftly, as they do whenever they hear the dreaded radio code 10-84 ("Turkey in Fighting Posture")
Live Action TV
- Gloriously subverted in The Big Bang Theory when Howard has to visit the hospital for an embarassing injury. The scene sets up this trope when:
Althea the Nurse (into Tannoy): Can I get an orderly with a wheelchair down here? We got a robot hand graspin' a man's penis.
Howard: Could you be a little more discreet?
Althea: I'm sorry. We don't have a code for "robot hand graspin' a man's penis."
- SHIELD uses the code 084 to refer to any unidentified object in Agents Of Shield.
- Referenced in Castle. In the episode "Undead Again", a murder suspect, dressed as a zombie, has been found dead in his home. In the morgue, the medical examiner sticks a needle into the man's arm - only for the so-called corpse to jerk upright and bolt for the door.
Castle: (at the telephone) Is there a police code for zombie on the loose?
- Corner Gas when Davis finds what he thinks is an alien crop circle:
Davis: I want you to get the RCMP down here right away. Tell them we got a 10-92.
Karen: Parking violation?
Davis: By aliens!
- Night Court: The Wheelers are brought in on a 509b violation.
Harry: I don't believe I'm familiar with that one.
Dan: Well Sir, it's not used in Manhattan very much. It involves the illegal detonation of poultry.
- The "Space Corps directives" running gag in Red Dwarf echoes this trope:
Rimmer: Kryten you're forgetting Space Corps Directive 1742.
Kryten: 1742? No member of the Corps should report for duty in a ginger toupee?
- Alaska State Troopers real life example, if you listen closely to the background radio dispatcher, they have a 10-code for Moose stuck in greenhouse!
- In Legend of the Five Rings, the Crab Clan have "battle-language" to describe common scenarios. For example, "Kannishiki!" means "The creature we are fighting can only be harmed by jade weapons!". "Tsuta" means "The staff of this restaurant or geisha house are actually shapeshifted Shadowlands creatures. Fetch your weapons discreetly and meet me at the door." If that fails, "Yasha!" means "The jig is up. Fight your way out however you can."
- In Void Dogs the Fickle Finger's security has a code for "exiled royalty has detonated a bottle". They also have one for "exiled royalty has detonated a turtle".
- World in Conflict, where two Port Authority Officers get fired upon by a Soviet gunship, and simply radio in a "11-99 emergency! They have gunships! ... We need help immediately, America is under attack!"
- The Simpsons used one of these gags in the season 11 episode "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder":
Chief Wiggum: Alright smart guy, where's the fire?
Homer: Over there.
Homer points at a fire at the police station
Chief Wiggum: Okay, you just bought yourself a 317, pointing out police stupidity... Or is that a 314? Nah nah, 314 is a dog uh, in, no or is that a 315?... You're in trouble pal.
- In another episode, Wiggum reports "an 812 - Waking a Police Officer".
- In "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show" Wiggum refers to a beer explosion as a code 8.
- Garfield and Friends:
Roy: I'd like an alligator-cheese sandwich made with cheese from an alligator named Cynthia, I want it with lettuce grown in Northern Bolivia and picked on Memorial Day, I want it served on rye bread with exactly 71 caraway seeds per slice, and I want a pickle in the shape of Muncie, Indiana.
Orson: Very good. One #8!
- Lampshaded in The Mighty Ducks episode "Jurassic Puck":
Mallory: I don't know what bothers me more: the fact that we're being attacked by a dinosaur or the fact that you've got a category for it.
- Taz-Mania: In "To Catch a Taz", Wendal arrests Thickley on "a 219; a fashion faux pas".
- Gravity Falls has this gag in the episode "Headhunters":
Voice on handheld transciever: Attention all units. Steve is going to fit an entire cantaloupe in his mouth. Repeat. An entire cantaloupe.
Deputy Durland: It's a 23-16!
Sherrif Blubs: Let's move!
- In Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, an elderly woman being ran over by a reindeer is a "12-24".
- To avoid accusations of racism, British police use a series of coded classifications to describe ethnicity of suspect. Thus:
- IC-1 is a white, caucasian, Northern European.
- IC-2 – Mediterranean European/Hispanic.
- IC-3 – African/Afro-Caribbean, negroid, person
- IC-4 – Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese, Maldivian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, or any other (South) Asian person
- IC-5 – Chinese, Japanese, or Far-East Asian person
- IC-6 – Middle Eastern person.
- Some forces add a strictly unofficial IC-7: tantastic, or somebody who has speant so much time under subbeds that their skin has turned distinctly orange. IC-8, IC-9, IC-0, are used for "unknown, unable to ascertain, other."
- The Arizona Sheriff's Department has a Code 421 which has apparently been adopted by other forces. It denotes the degree to which mental state or psychiatric impairment on the part of a perp will make police involvment more hazardous. Thus 421-A means "perp has mental problems; mild risk". 421-AA means the same, but with moderate to severe risk: this perp is too far gone to be reasoned with. A four-twenty-one triple A means completely nucking fut-job. Handle with extreme caution.