DHS' Chertoff Reverses Position on 10-Codes, Seeks Common Language for Major Emergency Communication

Earlier imperative had been to switch law enforcement to plain English, now 10-codes approved again


In a move that was much discussed in the SecurityInfoWatch.com forums (see thread), FEMA had earlier indicated that law enforcement agencies applying for funding would need to switch from the 10-code standards to plain English notifications. The imperative drew sharp criticism from both law enforcement and the security community.

Now the Department of Homeland Security's Michael Chertoff has reversed its sub-agency's requirement, and says that they will not encourage the dismissal of 10-code usage in law enforcement, and will also seek to create a common language system for cross-agency and cross-jurisidctional communication in the event of mass emergencies.

Chertoff's comments, given at the 112th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference on Tuesday in Miami Beach, Fla., are printed below:

"Second, as you know, under the implementation of the National Incident Management System there has been discussion of requiring the elimination of the 10-code in every day law enforcement communications.

However, there was a strong response from the law enforcement community against this proposal, and we listened to your concerns.

As a result, I have decided that NIMS compliance will not include the abolition of 10-codes in everyday law enforcement communications, but we will work to ensure that we have a common language system for multi-jurisdiction and multi-agency events.

I want to assure you that as a Department we will continue to listen, continue to work with you, and reach out to this vital community so that your valuable insight and first hand experience are brought to bear on the difficult challenges we confront."

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