Police Dispatch and Operations

Montgomery County, Maryland

Please Note: This is not an official Montgomery County Police Web site. Undoubtedly, there is room for error on my part. If you have any corrections or additions, please feel free to e-mail me (see bottom of page). ALSO: This page is intended strictly for use by recreational scanner enthusiasts.

Beats and Patrol Unit Designations

On-duty patrol units are named using a Number-Letter-Number combination.  The first number is the shift, the letter is the sector, and the second number is the beat.  For example, 3-Adam-2 is the officer on shift 3 for beat 2 in sector A.  Shift numbers are used because shifts overlap, so there may be more than one officer on a beat at one time.

Some units (e.g., Beat Teams, George Sector, Paul Sector, etc.) use two digits for the last number in their identifier. In this case, the first digit identifies the beat and the second digit identifies the unit. For example, 6-Adam-34 patrols the Adam-3 beat as part of a beat team and is the fourth highest ranking officer on that team.

Actual beats are known simply by their Letter-Number combination, for example Adam-2 or Baker-1.  Sectors are letters A-P (excluding F, H, I, L, O), one, two, or three sectors making up each of five districts.  Each sector is divided into two or more beats.

#:Shifts Worked:
5Beat Teams
6Beat Teams
9County-Wide Special Units

Shift times are as follows: 0600-1600 ("Day"), 1500-0100 ("Evening"), and 2000-0600 ("Midnight"). Shifts 1-4 alternate working day and evening shifts (they only work one shift in a given day). The numbering for shifts 1-7 is not confirmed for the Charlie sector (Rockville City Police). 8-Charlie units are Rockville City Neighborhood Services (e.g., animal control) units.

Sergeants (supervisors) have unit numbers in even multiples of 10 (e.g., Adam-10, Adam-20, etc.). Corporals have unit numbers ending in 1 (e.g., Adam-11, Adam-21, etc.) Shift back-up units (usually the highest ranking officer(s) on a shift) are designated as "Sam" units, for example, 3-Adam-Sam-1 or 4-Baker-Sam-2 ("Sam" units are numbered in ascending order starting with one).

Official Police Ranks

District and County-wide Special Units

District-based special units (those not assigned letter designations, see "District Car Number Designations," below) are identified by "car number" (e.g., motor, DB, etc.).  High-level officers are identified only by car number. Car 10 is the county-wide Duty Commander. The Duty Commander job rotates among Lieutenants and Captains. Car 10 must be notified of all major incidents in the county, including officers' use of force.  Car 1 is the department chief. Car 12 is the ECC Captain. Cars 70-77 are Office of Internal Affairs units. Car numbers 9x are Office of Media Services Section units (Public Information Officers). 9-King-15 is a bomb dog.

Fire Marshals and Sheriffs (completely separate from the Police department) use the Police radio channels.  Fire Marshals and Sheriffs are identified by their respective unit numbers prefaced by either "FM" or "Sheriff" (e.g., FM 56, Sheriff 40).  9-King-90 is the Sheriff's canine unit (bomb dog).  Fire Marshals operate on both the Police and Fire/Rescue channels, and also may be heard on the Montgomery County Park Police frequency.

Occasionally, Montgomery County Park Police units will use the county radios.  They identify themselves using their Park Police unit identifier, prefaced by "Park."  Park Police canine units are identified as 9-King-3x units.

Very rarely, Maryland State Police Troopers will be heard on the county radios, these units have been heard identifying themselves as "MSP" or "Trooper Patrol" followed by a number (the same way Sheriff and FM units are identified).

U.S. Park Rangers (C&O Canal) also have been heard identifying with their Park Service radio ID (3 digit number) prefaced by "Park Ranger."

Off-duty units identify using "OD" followed by their "ID number" (Montgomery County Police do not have "badge numbers"). All on-duty radio identifiers for patrol and non-patrol units are associated with an officer's unique ID number in the CAD. 3-digit ID numbers and 4-digit ID numbers starting with 1 (i.e., 1xxx) are Montgomery County Police units. 5xxx are Rockville City Police units, 6xxx are County Sheriff units, and 7xxx are Gaithersburg City Police units. 17xx, 18xx , and 19xx ID numbers are for County Police dispatchers (civilian staff).

Special Units

District Car Number Designations

Car numbers follow a pattern based on the district and type of unit.  The first number represents the district (the same numbers as channel assignments), 1xx-Rockville, 2xx-Bethesda, 3xx-Silver Spring, 4xx-Wheaton/Glenmont, 5xx-Germantown, 6xx-Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village.  The second number indicates the type of unit (see table, below).  The third number is simply the individual unit identifier (units are numbered from highest rank to lowest rank in ascending order, i.e., 0 is reserved for the sergeant, 1 for corporal, etc.).

x00 District Commander (Captain) unmarked
Deputy Commanders (Lieutenants) unmarked
Community Outreach Unit? - Officer?
Community Outreach Unit? - Corporal?
Community Outreach Unit - Sergeant
x09 Crime Analyst? ?
Potomac Patrol Detail
Middlebrook Patrol Detail
x2x Special Assignment Team (SAT) unmarked
x3x ? ?
x4x Power Shift marked/unmarked/bike
x5x Traffic Enforcement Unit (Motor) marked
x6x ? ?
x7x Investigative Section (IS), a.k.a. Detective Bureau (DB) unmarked
Investigative Section (additional units)
Gang Unit
x9x Miscellaneous/Temporary Assignments variable

Letter Unit Designations

County-wide, non-beat units (listed below) are designated as "shift 9" to distinguish them from sectors, e.g. 9-Frank-12, 9-Zebra-14.  There are some exceptions, e.g., Charlie, Delta, and Mary, for localities which "piggy-back" on the county police radio channels. All letters A-Z have been assigned to special units, so this list is not yet complete.

Adam Training Academy or Personnel Section (depending on number)
Charlie Rockville City Police Department (non-beat units only)
CSD: Crime Prevention (numbers greater than 9)
Delta Gaithersburg City Police Department
Edward Police Explorers (not actual law enforcement officers)
Frank Technical Services Section (forensics)
George Fugitive Unit or Fraud Section (depending on number)
Henry Major Crimes Division (Homicide-Sex Section and Robbery Section)
Abandoned Motor Vehicle Unit (numbers greater than 80)
Ida SID: Vice and Intelligence
John Central Processing Unit (CPU)
King TOD: Canine
Lincoln Office of Internal Affairs
Mary Chevy Chase Village Police Department
Nancy SID: Tactical Drug Enforcement Unit (narcotics)
Ocean CID: units not assigned other letter designation
Paul SID: Repeat Offender Program Enforcement (ROPE)
Robert CSD: Community Relations
Sam CSD: School Safety
Tango TOD: Tactical (ERT/SWAT)
Union Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU)
Victor Centralized Auto Theft Team (CATT)
Whiskey Alcohol Enforcement Unit (AEU)
Yankee Family Services Division
Zebra TOD: Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU)

Sector Designations and Other District Information

Rockville District (Sectors A, B, C)

Adam sector is the eastern portion of the district, primarily the city limits of Rockville east of I-270 and some immediately surrounding areas to the north and east (including a majority of the Derwood area, south of Shady Grove Road and west of Muncaster Mill Road); sergeant is Adam-10; corporal is Adam-11; beats are numbered 1-4, in ascending order from south to north (Adam-1, Twinbrook/Viers Mill; Adam-2, Twinbrook/east Rockville; Adam-3, central Rockville; Adam-4, north Rockville and Derwood).  Adam-3x units make up the Adam-3 beat team (Lincoln Park substation).

Baker sector is the western portion of the district plus a portion of southwest Rockville, but primarily the Potomac area; beats are numbered 1-4 (Baker-1, south central Rockville city; Baker-2, Rockville City west of I-270; Baker-3, Potomac-south; Baker-4, Potomac-west).

Charlie sector is a pseudo-sector designating Rockville City Police units.  Rockville City Police units are dispatched by the county dispatcher on channel 1 for all their calls. However, they continue to have their own channel and city dispatcher on channel 9.

Bethesda District (Sectors D, E)

Delta sector is the eastern portion of the district, including downtown Bethesda. Beats are numbered 1-3.

Edward sector is the northern and western portion of the district, including the White Flint area. Beats are numbered 1-4.

Mary (shift 9) units on channel 2 are Chevy Chase Village Police units.  9-Mary units are dispatched by the county dispatcher on 911 calls that occur within the village.  Their jurisdiction extends north from Chevy Chase Circle (at the DC line) to Bradley Lane (about 1/2 mile) and west from Wisconsin Avenue to Chevy Chase Section 3 (about 9 miles of road in total).  They usually have one officer and one dispatcher/call-taker on-duty.  They use the same 10-codes and activity codes as the county police.  The on-duty officer usually has the vehicle radio on county police channel 2 and his/her portable radio on the CCVP frequency.

Silver Spring District (Sector G)

George sector composes the entire district (the Henry sector was eliminated and combined with George in early 2001). Beats are numbered 1-5.

Wheaton-Glenmont District (Sectors J, K)

John sector is the northern portion of the district.  John-2 beat is the Aspen Hill area.  John-3 beat includes Olney, Airpark, and the portion of Derwood east of Muncaster Mill Road.  John-4 beat is the Brookeville area. John-3x units make up the John-3 beat team (Olney substation).  Beats are numbered 1-4.

King sector is the southern portion of the district, including Wheaton and Glenmont.  Beats are numbered 1-4.

Germantown District (Sectors M, N, P)

Mary sector is the portion of the district east of I-270, including Germantown (part), Damascus, and Laytonsville. Beats are numbered 1-2, in increasing order from west to east.

Nancy sector is the portion of the district west of Interstate 270, including Germantown (part) and Poolesville. Beats are numbered 1-3, in increasing order from east to west.

Paul sector includes the Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village areas. It makes up the area assigned to the "6th District Substation." Eventually it will become a sector in the future 6th police district. Beats are numbered 1-6 with beats 1-2 west of I-270 and beats 3-6 east of I-270.

Delta (shift 9) units are Gaithersburg City Police units.  Gaithersburg City Police units are dispatched on channel 5 by the county dispatcher for all their calls.

Common Abbreviations/Terminology

Cop Slang

Common Call Types/Abbreviations

Response Codes

10 Codes

Common 10 codes will often be referred to simply by their number, without the preceding "10."  Some of the more common 10 codes are shown in bold.

10-1 Receiving poorly
10-2 Receiving well
10-3 Emergency use of channel only
10-4 Acknowledgment (message received)
10-5 On the scene
10-6 Busy
10-7 Out of service
10-8 In service
10-9 Repeat last message
10-10 Out of service, but available for call at location
10-11 You are dispatching too rapidly
10-12 Advise weather and road conditions
10-13 Request wrecker for passenger car at location
10-15 Transporting prisoner in custody
10-16 Wish to meet unit _____ at location
10-19 Request shift commander at location
10-20 What is your location
10-21 Request field supervisor at location
10-22 Cancel or disregard last message
10-23 Check for valid license
10-24 Contact your desk clerk, your convenience
10-25 Do you have contact with _____
10-26 Report to your station
10-27 Advise a phone number for _____
10-28 Registration check (listing)
10-29 Check for Wanted/Stolen
10-30 Does not conform to regulations
10-31 Do you have any calls for me
10-32 I have nothing for you
10-40 Advise your welfare
10-41 Welfare is OK, no assistance needed
10-50 Officer in trouble, needs immediate assistance
10-51 Request assistance at location (non-emergency)
10-60 Wanted/Stolen Indicated
10-61 Contagious disease exposure precautions recommended
10-62 Is your (radio) air clear?
10-86 Call your spouse
10-97 How is my reception?
10-99 Message acknowledged, two officer unit
10-100 Riot or large disturbance in progress at _____, request assistance

Status Activity Codes

These are generally referred to as "code XX" but may be referenced only by their number.  Some of the more common codes are shown in bold.

Code 11 Traffic court - in county
Code 12 Non-traffic court - in county
Code 13 Crossing detail
Code 16 Routine commercial establishment check
Code 19 Serving summons
Code 21 Traffic warrant service
Code 22 Assisting another unit
Code 23 Traffic escort
Code 24 Criminal warrant service/Criminal arrest
Code 25 Transport other county agency
Code 26 Suspicious situation/vehicle/person
Code 27 Investigation - preliminary/follow-up
Code 28 ID field investigation
Code 29 K-9 activities
Code 31 Transport - MCP
Code 32 Out of county - investigation/business/court
Code 33 Vehicle maintenance/refueling
Code 34 School safety
Code 38 Uniform OD job - start
Code 39 Uniform OD job - stop
Code 51 Detail (not traffic)
Code 52 Traffic control detail - prearranged
Code 53 Traffic problem - on patrol
Code 54 Traffic stop
Code 55 Radar/Traffic enforcement
Code 56 Community policing/POP activity
Code 62 Emergency petition service
Code 91 Supervisory/Administrative duty
Code 92 Eating
Code 99 All other miscellaneous

Event Clearance Codes

These will be used along with a 4-digit event code to "clear" calls before units go back in service.  They will be preceded by an event code and  "dash."  For example, 2991-5, where "5" is the event clearance code.

Dash 1 Verified, No Report, No Arrest/Charge
Dash 2 Verified, Report, No Arrest/Charge
Dash 3 Verified, No Report, Arrest/Charge
Dash 4 Verified, Report, Arrest/Charge
Dash 5 Not Verified, No Report
Dash 6 Unfounded, No Report
Dash 7 Event Investigated, Turned Over to Other Police Agency, No Report

Event Codes

These 4-digit codes will be used to "clear" calls, thus placing the clearing unit(s) back in service.  They will be followed by an event clearance code (see above).  These codes will often be used on the radio in reference to certain types of situations, e.g., "2934" is used frequently by dispatchers and officers.  The general "hundred" categories may also be used by officers to refer to certain types of incidents, e.g., "1800," "5300."

01xx Homicide/Manslaughter
02xx Rape
03xx Robbery
04xx Aggravated Assault
05xx Burglary
06xx Larceny
07xx Auto Theft
08xx Assault
09xx Arson
10xx Forgery/Counterfeiting
11xx Bad Checks/Theft
12xx Embezzlement/Theft
13xx Stolen Property
14xx Vandalism
16xx Prostitution/Vice
17xx Sex Offenses
18xx Controlled Dangerous Substances
19xx Gambling
20xx Family Offenses
21xx Juvenile Offenses
22xx Liquor Law Violations
23xx Contributing (22xx)
24xx Disorderly Conduct
25xx Vagrancy
26xx Suicide
27xx Other Offenses (not traffic)
Miscellaneous Traffic Offenses 
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) 
All Other Traffic Offenses
Miscellaneous Calls 
Family Trouble 
Suspicious Person/Situation/Vehicle 
Bank Alarms 
Other Commercial Alarms 
Residential Alarms 
Other Miscellaneous Calls 
Dispatched Follow-up
30xx Deer Complaints/Concerns
31xx Hunting Complaints
Fatal Traffic Collisions 
Personal Injury Collisions 
Property Damage Collisions

Race Codes

Codes are used to give a suspect or driver's race over the radio.  These are usually referred to as "code X" but may also be called "number X," for example "code 2 male" or "number 1 female."

Code 1 Black
Code 2 White
Code 3 Asian/Pacific
Code 4 Native American
Code 5 Multiracial
Code 6 Hispanic

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