The radios depicted in the show were also used by the LAPD. A Motorola Motrac or Motran Model Radio. These were the so-called “DFE” (dual front-end) radios, used from about 1967 until at least 1975. On the LAPD Motran and Motrac control heads, the upper right toggle switch was always an on/off switch; the lower right knob was volume, the lower left knob was squelch. The Federal Signal Interceptor Model PA-20A was used to control the siren tones, PA and radio. It has a red button on the left to manually press on and off the siren. The Selector switch controls: RADIO, PA, MANUAL, WAIL, YELP and HI-LO. The knob on the left is the GAIN.
The handi-talkie is a Motorola “HT-200” (known as a CC unit) as seen on Adam-12 and was used by the LAPD from the 1960’s until the 1980’s.
Prior to the late 80’s, LAPD Officers were not assigned portable radios, so when they left their units “Code 6” – they were out of radio range.
Frequencies on the radio
- F1 was the dispatch channel pair for the division the car was assigned to
- F2 was empty in some radios, but in many it was a seldom used “citywide” channel, the idea behind that was if a car was sent somewhere far removed from its home division, they could still reach a dispatcher.
- F3 was Tac1 and was generally used by detectives
- F4 was Tac2 and was generally used by patrol
The Simul position was never wired in any police units. The only use was in the City’s Receiving Hospital Ambulances – “G” units, as seen in early episodes (pictured below) of Adam-12. It was set up so the city ambulance crews (pre-LAFD and dressed in LAPD uniform and hat) could monitor both the hospital frequency, and the police frequency for the division to which they were assigned, but the interference quickly made its use not recommended.
San Fernando Valley: Van Nuys, Valley Traffic, Tactic – C L I C K H E R E
THE FIRST RADIO EVER SEEN ON ADAM-12 IN 1968
[BUT ONLY IN THE PILOT EPISODE]
This is the first radio seen on the show in 1968. It is a real, working police radio in the borrowed Belvedere from North Hollywood Division. None of identifying stickers were removed from the real radio, the “M” and Motorola name was covered with tape. This radio is only seen in the pilot episode.
In 1968 special designed radios (pictured above) were used to monitor radio calls in the police station. As seen in a few early episodes of the show.
The Watch Commander: THEN & NOW
The LAPD used station wagons for supervisory personnel (sergeants) going back to the late ’60s. In addition to room for the typical supervisor-specific equipment, the station wagon had room for riot gear – shields, helmets, tear gas, launchers and other tactical gear. The station wagon also served as a mobile command post – an additional radio control head was mounted in the rear. The big station wagons faded from the police scene by the early-1990s – and were promptly replaced by SUVs. The new Area Command Vehicle can be quickly set up as an incident command vehicle in three minutes, as neatly mounted in the rear, on roll-out supports, with communications equipment including a keyboard and two large-screen monitors.
In addition to the police communications gear, there is a router with 3G and 4G capability to access Internet / cellular access from either Sprint or Verizon. There is also an interface to connect the department’s iPads issued to command staff and an Apple TV.
A wireless printer is included so hard copies of maps or operations plans can be quickly printed up. This equipment can be powered by either the vehicle’s 12V electrical system or line-voltage plugged into the 110V socket mounted on the side, thus excessive idling is eliminated.
KMA-367 was the official FCC designation (call-sign, similar to radio station call-letters) for the LAPD. It was used to identify the frequency and the agency.
The “1-ADAM-12” Unit Designation was technically incorrect. There are 18 Divisions in the City of Los Angeles. Station 1 is Central Division. Two-person patrol units are designated “ADAM” Units. – I.D. #12 would be their assigned area. So, “1-ADAM-12” was a two-person patrol unit working out of Central Division. But they were shown working out of Rampart Division, which is Division 2. Technically, they should have been 2-ADAM-12, but “1-ADAM-12” had a much better sound to it and Rampart Division had just been built and was one of the newer stations at the time in 1966, besides the traffic near Central Division was a problem. There is no “12” unit designator for the Rampart Division Patrol Section either.
Former LAPD Dispatch Center with the dispatchers known as RTO’s (Radio Telephone Operator)
The Police Radio
Inspired by a contest in 1924, Police Chief R. Lee Heath ordered his staff to investigate the use of radio to “more quickly dispatch officers to where they are needed.” It was not until Police Chief Roy E. Steckel, however, that the department would be assigned its first Federal Communications Commission license. On May 1, 1931, KGPL began broadcasting at 1712 kHz, just above the commercial radio broadcasting frequencies. Later, this was changed to 1730 kHz. Any citizen could monitor outgoing police radio traffic on their home sets. The system was “one way” until the mid-1930s when mobile transmitters were installed in patrol units.
Today, telephone calls into the department for police service are handled by the Communications Division. First, an Emergency Board Operator (EBO) answers calls placed to 9-1-1 (with a lower number of operators assigned to the non-emergency 1-877-ASK-LAPD). A call for service results in an incident number, which resets to the number 1—citywide—at midnight each night. Upon receiving the incident, the Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) will go on the air to broadcast to the division (with the option to simulcast on bureau-wide or citywide frequencies). RTOs provide the following information in what is known as a crime broadcast:
- to whom this message is intended (a particular unit, a certain division’s units, or, “all units”),
- the type of crime that just occurred (usually by California penal code but sometimes an abbreviation, established by the Communications Division),
- how long ago the crime occurred,
- a quantity of suspects (if more than one),
- a description of the suspect(s), their clothing and/or other uniquely identifiable attributes, if available, with what they might be armed.
- Additional details may include information about the “PR” (person reporting) or simply instructions to “monitor comments for further” (a direction to responding officers to read about the incident on their in-car Mobile Data Terminals).
- The broadcast always concludes with a code (such as Code 3 or Code 2 for immediate response but without siren with red and blue lights), the incident number and the “RD” or reporting district (a numbered area within the division).
There may also be a request by the RTO for the responding unit handling to identify.
A fictitious example of a radio call might begin with tones (to alert patrol units that a broadcast will follow), “Any central unit, a 211 just occurred at 714 south Broadway Street at the Footlocker. Suspect was a male black, six-foot seven, approximately 280 pounds; shaved head, black eyes, goatee, white t-shirt, dark baggy pants. Weapon used was a revolver. Monitor comments for additional. Code 2. Incident number 555 in RD 193.”
“Control” is the radio name for Communications division.
Officers out of their cars are able to communicate over the air using portable Motorola radios nicknamed ROVERs (“Remote Out of Vehicle Emergency Radios”). These hand-held radios are currently Motorola XTS-5000 Models With Some Motorola Astro digital SABER models still being used by very few officers and some still inside older police vehicles.
Originally, Motorola MX-series analog handheld units were used when the transition from VHF to UHF “T-band” dispatch/tactical frequencies was made in the early 1980s. Prior to that time, portable 2-way radios (known in LAPD jargon then as “CC units” as seen being used by Malloy) were either VHF or UHF, mainly Motorola HT-3rd century and HT-220’s, stocked in small quantities, and used mainly by specialized units such as Metropolitan division, SWAT, SIS (Special Investigations Section) and Narcotics divisions as stakeout tools. Another use was for footbeats “FB” units, mainly in Central division, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
ROVERs are normally utility belt-mounted. For convenience, smaller, corded, hand-held microphones are plugged into these radios and then clipped to parts of the uniform shirt such as a front pocket or shoulder loop.
HOT SHEET DESK
The hot sheet was a simple design, an aluminum or sheet metal desk fabricated with a fold down writing surface and a bolt-on paper pad – the paper pads had holes for the screws to be placed and tightened down by a horizontal plate.
LAPD HOT SHEET – Daily List Of Stolen & Wanted Vehicles
The “hot sheet” was placed between two thin pieces of Plexiglas that had a small bulb lit from the rear through the paper (the switch is to the right in the middle of the upper deck). Cheap to make and easy to maintain. The lid folded up when not in use.
ALL license plate letter sequences used on the show (standard & commercial plates)
were non-issuable as per CA DMV regulations. On both the gold-on-black & gold-on-blue tags the letters “I” (IDA) & “O” (OCEAN) were NEVER issued next to a number to avoid confusion with the #’s 1 & 0. Thus, the tag# LXI 483 (lincoln-xray-ida) was never issued in real life.
You will notice that ALL tag #’s used on Adam-12 either ended in I or O (black plates) or started with I or O (blue plates). CA plates are issued in order, so blue tags would have started w/ 000 AAA & so on…Commercial tags, which contained 1 letter & 5 #’s, also had only an “I” or “O” on the show.
As far as the street addresses are concerned, any cross-streets actually parallel with numbers being either too high, too low, or simply didn’t exist
Each unit is represented by an LAPD-specific callsign. Typically, a callsign is made up of three elements: the division number, the unit type and the “beat” number. For example, division 1 is Central Division (or, now, “Central Area”), an “A” is patrol unit with two officers and their beat number can be a number like 12. Such a unit would identify themselves as 1-A-12 (or 1-Adam-12, using the LAPD phonetic alphabet). Listed below are several patrol types:
The following codes are used in local radio transmissions:
| CODE 1 – Acknowledge your call.
CODE 2 – Immediately (no red lights, no siren)
CODE 3 – Emergency (red lights and siren)
CODE 4 – No more help needed
CODE 4 ADAM – No more help needed, but suspect is still in vicinity
CODE 5 – Stake out – stay away
CODE 6 – Out for investigation
CODE 6 ADAM – May need assistance in conducting an investigation
CODE 6 CHARLES – Officer shall remain in a position of advantage over the suspect while awaiting assistance. When control is obtained, the unit shall
request the want/warrant information from the RTO.
CODE 7 – Out to eat.
CODE 8 – Fire verified.
CODE 20 – Notify press of newsworthy event.
CODE 30 – Burglar Alarm (Code 30 Ringer or Code 30 Silent)
CODE 37 – Vehicle is Reported Stolen
CODE 77 – Caution, Possible Ambush
CODE 99 – Emergency
CODE 100 – In position to intercept
CODE A – Regular uniform.
CODE B – Rain. Motorcycle officer in police car.
CODE C – Summer uniform permitted.
As heard on Adam-12…
CODE 6 ZEBRA – (was later changed to CODE 6 ADAM – see above) 187 PC – Homicide
211 – Robbery (211 SILENT – Silent Holdup Alarm)
240 – Assault
242 – Battery
245 – Assault With Deadly Weapon
246 – Shooting in Dwelling
261 – Rape
288 – Lewd Conduct
311 – Indecent exposure
390 – Intoxicated person
415 – Disturbing the peace
459 – Burglary (459 SILENT – Burglar Alarm Silent)
470 – Forgery
480 – Hit and run
481 – Hit and run – Misdemeanor
484 – Theft
484 PS – Purse snatch
487 – Grand Theft
488 – Petty Theft
501 – Drunk driving felony
502 – Drunk driving
503 – Auto Theft
504 – Tampering with a vehicle
505 A – Reckless Driving
507 – Minor disturbance
510 – Speeding or racing vehicles
586 – Illegal parking
586 E – Blocking driveway
594 – Malicious mischief
653 M – Threatening phone calls
| ADW – Assault with a Deadly WeaponBACK-UP – Assist other unitBO – Bad Order (broken, not working)CLEAR – Available for callsDB – Dead bodyDMV – Department of Motor Vehicles.
DUCE – Drunk driver
ETA – Estimated time of arrival EOW – End of watch
GOA – Gone on arrival
GTA – Grand theft auto
HINKY – Nervous or suspicious
HOT SHOT – Important message
MAKE – Identification of suspect for vehicle
NARCO – Narcotic user
PACKAGE – File or record of a person
PR – Person reporting
RTO – Radio telephone operator
RUN ONE – Broadcast a description
TA – Traffic Accident (now known as
WANT – Wanted for warrants