Understanding the Code: What Does Adam Mean In Police Code? (2023)

In an attempt to streamline communication and avoid misunderstandings during stressful situations, law enforcement agencies worldwide use codes. One of the most commonly used coding systems is the 10-code system, which includes terms such as 10-4 meaning “acknowledgement” or “understanding”. But have you ever wondered what the term “Adam” stands for in police code? If you have, this guide is for you. Let’s dive deep into what “Adam” means in the police code and why it is used.

Understanding Police Codes

The first key to understanding what “Adam” means in police code is understanding police codes themselves. These codes, known as Ten-codes or 10-codes, originated in the United States law enforcement community prior to World War II. They were designed to offer concise and standardized messages to reduce radio traffic and communicate effectively. However, the use of such codes can sometimes vary widely between different law enforcement agencies.

The Meaning of “Adam” in Police Code

In most police departments, “Adam” is used as a phonetic alphabet to represent the letter “A”. This is similar to how “Alpha” is used in the NATO phonetic alphabet. In some departments, it may also be used as a specific identifier for a particular type of police unit or assignment.

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For example, in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), “Adam” is utilized in combination with numbers to designate two-officer patrol units. For instance, “1-Adam-12” was popularized by the classic police drama, where it referred to “Area 1 (Central Los Angeles), two-officer patrol car, unit 12”. However, different police departments may use “Adam” differently or may not use it at all, which underlines the lack of universal standardization in police codes. Listed below are the codes used by the police:

10-32A Person with a gun
10-33Emergency, all units stand by
10-36Time check
10-42Ending shift
10-78Need Assistance
10-99The Officer/Unit needs help immediately

The Meaning of “Adam” in Police Code

Police codes, like “Adam”, play a crucial role in the daily operations of law enforcement agencies. They allow officers to quickly and succinctly relay information, which can be essential in emergency situations. However, the wide variation in the use of these codes across different departments also leads to calls for greater standardization, as misunderstandings can have serious consequences.


1. What is the purpose of police codes like “Adam”?

Police codes provide a way for law enforcement to convey complex information quickly and efficiently. They are used to streamline communication, reduce the chances of misunderstanding, and help ensure officers’ safety during emergency situations.

2. Are police codes standardized?

While there are some commonalities, there isn’t universal standardization of police codes. This means the meaning of codes can vary between different law enforcement agencies, which can sometimes lead to confusion or miscommunication.

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3. Does every police department use the term “Adam”?

No, not all police departments use the term “Adam”. Its usage can vary greatly between different law enforcement agencies, with some using it to denote specific units or assignments, while others may not use it at all.

3. What does it mean when police say “Code 3”?

Typically, “Code 3” is used to denote an emergency situation that requires the officer to respond quickly, often with the activation of lights and sirens.

4. How do police codes like “Adam” and “Code 3” contribute to law enforcement operations?

Police codes like “Adam” and “Code 3” provide a standardized, efficient method of communication that can save time, especially in high-pressure situations where every second counts. They help in quickly conveying the nature of a situation, the type of response required, and other essential information.


The term “Adam” in police code can be a fascinating study, illustrating the depth and complexity of law enforcement communication. Despite its varied usage, understanding these codes can provide a valuable insight into the world of law enforcement and the systems they use to maintain order and safety. As with all language, these codes are living and dynamic, constantly evolving to meet the needs of modern law enforcement.

The world of police codes is indeed a world of its own, an echo of a language spoken only by those who serve and protect. Whether you’re a language enthusiast, aspiring law enforcement officer, or simply a curious reader, understanding what “Adam” means in police code is an interesting journey into the heart of police communication.

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