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"Phonetic Alphabet"

Certain letters of the alphabet sound alike over the air, like "A" and "H" & "B" and "V." To avoid confusion, a Phonetic Alphabet Scheme is used in dispatching and routine communications. It works by using specific words to represent each letter of the alphabet. 

For example: a police unit requesting a vehicle license plate check on a California license plate of "KDL837A" would say:

 "10-28/29, California, King-David-Lincoln-8-3-7-Adam"

Another example is when a police unit is requesting a background check on a person. Using my name, he would say:

"10-27 on a last of, Frank-Lincoln-Ocean-Robert-Edward-Sam, First of Robert-Union-Boy-Edward-Nora"

The dispatcher would immediately know he was asking for a check on "Flores, Ruben"  

There are two common Phonetic Alphabet Schemes used nationwide. Law enforcement primarily use the variation on the left while fire agencies primarily use the one on the right.

Law Enforcement Fire/EMS & Military

A

Adam

N

Nora

A

Alpha

N

November

B

Boy

O

Ocean

B

Bravo

O

Oscar

C

Charlie

P

Paul

C

Charlie

P

Papa

D

David

Q

Queen

D

Delta

Q

Quebec

E

Edward

R

Robert

E

Echo

R

Romeo

F

Frank

S

Sam

F

Foxtrot

S

Sierra

G

George

T

Tom

G

Golf

T

Tango

H

Henry

U

Union

H

Hotel

U

Uniform

I

Ida

V

Victor

I

India

V

Victor

J

John

W

William

J

Juliet

W

Whiskey

K

King

X

X-ray

K

Kilo

X

X-ray

L

Lincoln

Y

Young

L

Lima

Y

Yankee

M

Mary

Z

Zebra

M

Mike

Z

Zulu

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