County Police Departments Move to Common Language Protocol

The Sheriff and local municipalities will move away from the 10-code communications system.

Starting Sept. 1, you may actually be able to understand what police officers are talking about. County police forces will be moving away from the use of codes and towards plain language in radio calls.

According to a Sheriff's Office news release, the , the Hampstead Police Department, and the Manchester Police Department will begin use of the Common Language Protocol, a system of radio communications that emphasizes plain language. This policy will replace the use of “10 codes” for the majority of law enforcement communication.

The Westminster Police Department adopted use of the new communications language on Aug. 1, according to Westminster Police Chief Jeffrey Spaulding.

Following recommendations from the National Incident Management System, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Virginia State Interoperability Executive Committee, this policy adjustment ensures clear, concise communications between all sections of public safety, according to a release.

With “10 codes," some variations may exist between different law enforcement agencies, creating unreliable and sometimes dangerous inaccuracies, police said. By practicing Common Language in day-to-day operations, responders will be more likely to use common language during high stress incidents.

Spaulding told Patch that the policy mirrors the Howard County Police force and the Maryland State Police.

"While the policy is in effect, it may take a while for tenured officers to get used to using common language instead of the old “10-codes” that have been used for decades, but we are actively engaged in the transition process," Spaulding said.

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