Lewis Griswold: Visalia police say over and out to 10-code dispatches

The Fresno BeeApril 5, 2014 

Visalia police dispatcher Amie Jones works the screens at the communications center.

LEWIS GRISWOLD — The Fresno Bee

Visalia police have abandoned "ten codes" in two-way radio communications.

It's a national trend. Emergency responders are gradually switching to everyday language, Lt. Brian Winter said.

The most well-known ten code immortalized by TV dramas is "10-4," meaning the transmission was received and understood. Visalia officers are now saying "Copy."

The problem with ten codes is the lack of standardization as the meaning can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For instance, "10-50" means "traffic accident" in Visalia, but that doesn't mean an officer from another agency would recognize it.

That would pose a problem in a major emergency in which first responders from elsewhere came to help, Winter said.

One of the lessons of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina is that first responders from out of the area would hear ten codes and not know what they mean.

After Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued an advisory -- there's no mandate or timeline -- to drop such codes in favor of "clear text," or plain language.

Fresno police adopted clear text a long time ago. Visalia police made the switch in November.

"So far, we like it," Winter said.

One advantage of ten codes is brevity, but no problems have arisen because someone was taking a little longer by using plain language, Winter said.

Although ten codes are history, Visalia police are keeping a few other codes such as "Code 3" -- respond with lights and siren.

SIERRA MEADOWS: Sierra Meadows, a senior housing project in Visalia, has been cited by the regional office of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development as an example of "best practices" in affordable housing, said Rhonda Haynes, a housing specialist at the city.

The 42-unit apartment building is notable for its "sustainable design with a robust service program supporting resident health and well-being and providing a comfortable environment where seniors can age in place," HUD wrote.

Sierra Meadows also received a 2013 MetLife Foundation Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing.

The building on East Tulare Avenue opened in 2011. Christian Church Homes of Northern California partnered with Visalia Senior Housing to develop and manage the $9.4 million project.

Financing came from a $6.3 million HUD Section 202 grant and a $420,000 Affordable Housing Program grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

The city chipped in $2.7 million of HOME Investment Partnership funds.

TULARE CONCERTS: The summer "Concert in the Park" series at Zumwalt Park in Tulare has released its wonderfully varied line up.

The Wednesday night series begins May 21 and ends Aug. 6. All concerts are free and start at 7:30 p.m.

May 21: Brad Wilson, rock and blues. May 28: AC Myles, rock/blues.

June 11: Richie Blue, adult contemporary; June 18: Tulare Community Band, marches, Broadway, movies, military, patriotic; June 25: August, old school rock.

July 2: Mehrten Drive, country; July 9: Tulare Community Stage Band, big band/swing; July 16: British Brass Band, traditional brass band music; July 23: Full Coverage, old school rock; July 30, Filarmonica Portuguesa, Portuguese music.

Aug. 6: Fabulous Surf Band, surf music/Beach Boys.

Lewis Griswold covers the news of Tulare and Kings counties for The Bee. His column runs Sunday. He can be reached at (559) 441-6104, lgriswold@fresnobee.com or @fb_LewGriswold on Twitter.

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