Monday, April 6, 2009


It has been my experience that one of the only things more frightening than having to call for Code 3 cover, is to hear another officer calling for Code 3 cover.

For the uninitiated, Code 3 cover means you want other officers to respond with lights and siren to assist you.

On the few occasions I have called for Code 3 cover, I have been on the ground on top of a fighting suspect, trying to keep him down with one hand, talk on the radio with the other hand, pepper spray him with the other hand, and handcuff him with the other hand.

The difference between calling for Code 3 cover and responding to a call for Code 3 cover is that when I am calling for it I know what's happening. I am experiencing it first hand. I know why I'm calling for cover, I know others are coming to help me because I can hear their sirens (that is TRULY music to the ears), and I know what they are going to find when they arrive.

When responding to a call for Code 3 cover we often do not know what is happening. All we know is that the radio has suddenly screamed at us "3L10 CODE 3 COVER!", and now there is usually no response from the officer calling out for cover. We don't know why the officer is calling for cover most of the time, because when we are calling for Code 3 cover, usually that is all we can get out over the radio while we are trying to conduct our business.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are trying to catch what we can hear on the radio, over the noise of our sirens and the wind rushing around our lightbar and into the rear window we have inevitably forgotten to roll up. Trying to clear intersections without slowing down quite as much as we normally would. Trying not to hit the other patrol cars you know are also running Code 3. The worst part is that we don't know what we are going to find when we get there. Usually it's just someone fighting with the officer, but you never know.

About the only thing worse would be to hear "11-99! 11-99!"

That basically means I need every officer from our city, the surrounding cities, the county, and perhaps any neighboring counties to descend upon my location like hell fire and brimstone because the shit has totally hit the fan.

My pulse picks up just from typing "11-99!"

I have only heard THAT called twice...


Anonymous said...

My pulse picked up reading 11-99... I have only broadcast that once! However, I can't count the Code 3 times!

Thank God for GPS!!! We always know which officer's are closest!

Front Porch Society said...

I am with the previous poster, too. My pulse just quickened a bit too even reading 11-99.

Had to chuckle, though, on the paragraph of the many hands doing things all at the same time. You too, huh? :)

Rivers said...

For us, "11-99" is "Code 1"

Code 1, as you'd imagine is "Holy Crap, we need everyone, NOW"

I've heard Code 1 twice on the radio since I've been on, and similarly, just typing it makes my stomach drop and goosebumps pop up.

PDlandshark said...

We dont use 11-99, but when we call for help and Dispatch send's everyone, I've never heard a better sound then those sirens when you have a family on your back fighting you and demanding not to take daddy.

Anonymous said...

We have a different code but it absolutely can send chills up and down your spine. I was out on break one night recently and saw three units fly out of the parking lot in the rain and knew there was trouble. That one was handled by a newbie, just three days after being fully released from training and she handled it perfectly. Never fun to hear that, ever.

Meadowlark said...

As a wife, just reading 11-99 brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. I guess I'm a sap.

TheBronze said...

You're not a sap.

Mrs. "Smith" said...

You are NOT a sap. I know Smith and the other Smilthville officers got though whatever it was alright, and I get upset reading 11-99.