Introduction to FBI Codes

In order to protect sensitive information, FBI agents use a variety of codes to communicate with each other. These codes act as an additional layer of security and help prevent confidential data from being compromised.

In this article, we will take a look at the various codes utilised by the FBI and how they are used.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses various communication methods and codes to ensure efficiency and security in their operations. Here are some of the most commonly used codes by FBI agents:

10-4: Affirmative, message received
10-20: Location or whereabouts of a suspect
10-27: Name check
10-33: Emergency, all units respond immediately

In addition to these codes, FBI agents also use various encryption and decryption techniques to keep their communication secure from unauthorised listening or interception.

The use of such codes and techniques enables the FBI to quickly and efficiently share information and coordinate operations while keeping sensitive information confidential.


FBI agents use codes as an essential component of their communication for various reasons. Codes enable FBI agents to communicate effectively and efficiently while maintaining privacy and security. These communication codes are designed to be as concise, descriptive and as specific as possible.

FBI codes are of different types and are structured to represent different objects, scenarios, or activities. These include numeric codes, alphabetic codes, and alphanumeric codes, each with its specific designation. For instance, Code 1 denotes an emergency, while Code 2 means an urgent situation, and Code 3 is used when the situation is non-urgent. In addition to codes, FBI agents also use common acronyms and phrases for quick and efficient communication.

The use of these codes allows FBI agents to communicate vital information such as suspect descriptions, incident locations, and other critical details with minimal confusion while keeping sensitive information classified.


The FBI uses a variety of codes to communicate important information between agents and personnel. Here are the most commonly used FBI codes:

Code 1: Situation under control

Code 2: Situation not under control; emergency assistance needed

Code 3: Serious situation, special attention needed

Code 4: Officer requires assistance

Code 5: Stakeout

Code 6: Standby

Code 7: Out of service to eat

Code 8: Request cover/backup

Code 9: All units in vicinity respond

Code 10: Bomb threat

Code 11: SWAT pre-call up

Code 12: Notify news media

Code 13: Request suspect transport

These codes help FBI agents and personnel quickly and efficiently communicate crucial information in potentially dangerous situations.



Types of FBI Codes

When it comes to the business of law enforcement, it is important for agents to communicate efficiently and securely. For this reason, the FBI employs codes to communicate between agents in the field and at headquarters.

This article will explore the different types of codes that agents use to communicate to ensure that their messages remain secure and confidential.


The Phonetic Alphabet, also known as the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, is used by FBI agents and law enforcement officials to communicate important information clearly and efficiently in emergency situations.

Here are the most commonly used Phonetic Alphabet code words:

A – Alpha
B – Bravo
C – Charlie
D – Delta
E – Echo
F – Foxtrot
G – Golf
H – Hotel
I – India
J – Juliet
K – Kilo
L – Lima
M – Mike
N – November
O – Oscar
P – Papa
Q – Quebec
R – Romeo
S – Sierra
T – Tango
U – Uniform
V – Victor
W – Whiskey
X – Xray
Y – Yankee
Z – Zulu

These codes are used to spell out important information, such as names, license plates, and addresses, over the radio or phone in a way that avoids confusion and errors.


The FBI agents use numerous codes to communicate. These codes are classified under Standard FBI Code Words and Phrases. These codes allow undercover officers to swiftly communicate with one another without raising any alarms. Here are a few types of codes that FBI agents frequently use to communicate with each other.

AFAIK – As far as I know; BOLO – Be on the Lookout for ;CID – Criminal Investigative Division; HTR – Hostage Rescue Team; K-9 – Canine Unit. These codes help avoid using confusing and time-consuming phrases during critical operations. The FBI code words and phrases most often are short, concise, and spoken in a context that has a specific meaning to the listeners. This makes the work of FBI agents more efficient, especially during high-stress scenarios, where effective communication can lead to saving lives.



FBI agents use various codes to communicate effectively during missions, and it is essential for law enforcement enthusiasts to be familiar with them. Here are some criminal justice vocabulary codes that FBI agents commonly use:

10-4: Meaning “acknowledged” or “affirmative.” It is used to confirm received messages.

10-20: This code refers to a location. It is usually used to ask about the whereabouts of an individual.

10-33: Used to indicate an emergency, this code is frequently employed to request additional backup and support.

10-36: This code relates to the status of a situation. It is commonly used to inquire about a suspect’s current status.

Knowing these codes can help in deciphering conversations among FBI agents and following the progress of a mission.

Decoding FBI Codes

FBI agents utilise several different types of codes to communicate with each other in the field. These codes can range from computer codes to traditional Morse code.

Let us take a look at the codes that FBI agents use to communicate and how they might be used in the field.

Techniques Used to Decode FBI Codes

The FBI uses a variety of codes to communicate, and special techniques are needed to decode these codes.

Here are some of the techniques that have been used successfully to decode FBI codes:

Cryptanalysis: Cryptanalysis is the process of analysing and solving codes and ciphers. Techniques used in cryptanalysis include frequency analysis, pattern recognition, and brute force attacks.

Codebooks: Codebooks are books that contain lists of coded messages and their translations. Codebooks can be used to find corresponding translations for coded messages.

Modifiers: Modifiers are words or phrases that are added to a code to make it more complex. Modifiers can include numbers, symbols, or words that have special meanings to the code sender and recipient.

Contextual Clues: Contextual clues are used to decode codes by examining the content and context of the message. For example, if an FBI agent is communicating about a bank robbery, the message may contain code words related to banks or money.

These techniques can be used in combination to decode complex FBI codes, leading to successful investigations and prosecutions.

Importance of Understanding FBI Codes In criminal Justice and Law Enforcement

Having a strong understanding of FBI codes is essential for professionals working in the criminal justice and law enforcement fields. FBI codes are used to communicate critical information swiftly and accurately between agents, analysts, and other members of the law enforcement community.

Here are some of the most commonly used FBI codes:

  • 10-4: Affirmative, message received
  • 10-8: In service, available for duty
  • 10-15: Suspect is in custody
  • 10-20: Location information requested
  • 10-32: Person with a gun

Familiarising yourself with these codes can improve communication between law enforcement agents, speed up response times, and ensure safer and more effective criminal investigations.

Learning Resources and Books for Decoding FBI Codes

For those interested in learning the art of decoding FBI codes, there are a variety of learning resources and books available that can help you understand the complex world of FBI communication.

Some of the popular books on this topic include – “The Code Book” by Simon Singh, “Codes and Ciphers” by R.F. Churchhouse, and “Code Breaking: A History and Exploration” by Rudolph Kippenhahn.

Additionally, online resources such as the FBI website can also provide valuable insights into the types of codes used by the FBI and how they are deciphered.

Learning to decode FBI codes can open doors to a deep understanding of the intricate working of the FBI, as well as provide exciting avenues for career development in the field of law enforcement.

Future of FBI Codes

FBI codes have been used for decades to communicate and share sensitive information. From the early Morse code to the most recent encryption methods, the FBI has employed a variety of code-based communication techniques to ensure the security and privacy of its agents.

In recent years, the FBI has been experimenting with emerging technology advances to see how they can be put to use in the field. Now, let’s take a deeper look into the future of FBI codes.

Advancement of Technologies and its Impact on FBI Codes

The advancement of technologies has revolutionised the way FBI agents communicate using codes. Modern technologies have enabled the FBI to use more complex and secure codes that make it harder for unauthorised persons to intercept their messages.

FBI agents now rely on a wide range of technologies, including advanced encryption algorithms, secure communication channels, and digital signature techniques to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of their messages.

Some of the most common codes that FBI agents use to communicate include Morse code, ASCII code, hexadecimal code, and binary code. However, these traditional codes are being replaced by more advanced encryption technologies that use complex mathematical algorithms to create secure codes that cannot be easily deciphered.

The future of FBI codes is promising, as innovative technologies continue to emerge, providing FBI agents with new and more secure ways of communicating with each other.


AI and Data Analytics in Decoding FBI Code

Artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics are revolutionising the process of decoding FBI codes, making it faster and more accurate than ever before. By using algorithms to analyse large amounts of data, AI can identify patterns and decrypt codes that may be difficult for humans to decipher. With the help of AI and data analytics, the FBI can now decode messages from criminals, terrorists, and other threat actors in real-time, giving them a tactical advantage when it matters the most.

Some of the data points that the FBI might use to train AI models include time of day, day of the week, location, language, and frequency of communication. By analysing these data points, AI can learn to recognize patterns of behaviour and decode messages more quickly and accurately.

With the future of technology constantly evolving, it is likely that AI and data analytics will continue to play a crucial role in the decoding of FBI codes for many years to come.

Challenges and Opportunities for FBI Codes In the Future

The FBI currently uses a variety of codes and acronyms to communicate internally and with other law enforcement agencies. While these codes have been effective in the past, advances in technology and changes in communication methods pose both challenges and opportunities for the future of FBI codes.


  • As more communication occurs digitally, traditional radio codes and acronyms may become outdated and less effective.
  • The use of different codes within and between agencies can create confusion and communication breakdowns.


  • Advancements in technology, such as encryption and secure messaging apps, can improve the security and efficiency of FBI communication.
  • The development of universal communication protocols and standards can streamline inter-agency cooperation and reduce errors caused by miscommunication.

While the future of FBI codes is uncertain, adapting to new technological and communication trends presents an opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of FBI operations.

Pro Tip: Keep yourself updated with FBI communication methods and means of decryption.