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December 24, 2009 - Kylie Saari
Every day, as I sit at my desk writing, the police scanner runs constantly in the background. A necessary evil of my profession, the scanner tells us what is going on — and tells us what you as the public might want to know about. Scanner talk is a language of its own, with codes for what is happening, numbers instead of names, and occasionally, seriously funny interactions between dispatchers and officers. When I started the job as a temp two years ago, covering police while Jenn was out for a few weeks, I found the scanner nearly indecipherable. Why on earth was she always asking if the officer the 10-20 for 10-21? When I heard my husbands license plate number called out one day, I nearly panicked. I wasn't adept at the codes, and I frantically asked Jenn if it was an accident, what was going on! She laughed and told me he had been pulled over for speeding. Then it was my husbands turn for a laugh when I called him immediately, already knowing his news. Jenn, who has been at this 9 years, can know what they are talking about without even listening closely. She is fluent at identifying officer' voices, numbers, and codes while focusing on her stories. I am getting there, and it is a source of pride. They say a person clicking out morse code eventually can be identified by his or her individual style, even though it is all code. I like to think I am starting to crack to scanner code. I can recognize the voices now, and I know 10-20 for 10-21 simply means the officer has a phone call.
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