Police jargon is the specialized language (terms or expressions) primarily used in the line of police duty, law enforcement, and criminal justice. When civilians use this jargon however, you run the risk of frustrating or confusing people; they are sometimes not sure what you're saying. However, if you learn some police jargon and only use it when it's appropriate, some people might find you a bit more interesting.
Police business jargon is included on our executive coaching website because 1) police are an essential, important part of our society, 2) learning something new and "different" can stimulate our brains and thought processes, and 3) there are business analogies between police work and the work that civilians often do.
And maybe you'll enjoy the bit of humor, too!
Here's some common terms you probably know well and others you may not have heard before.
• Suspect - suspects are the people that the police are looking at for a crime. Other names for suspect might include defendants, arrestees, or persons of interest.
• 10-4 - even little kids playing cops and robbers know what this means. It means, "OK" or "Got it". However, the codes have changed a bit to be more clear due to most, if not all, police officers talking over radios now.
• P.O.V. - Personally Owned Vehicle (versus patrol car, etc.) is all this means
• Code Eight - serious situation where an officer is requesting help immediately. If you're a police officer on duty, you drop everything and go right away.
• Taking a code 7 - this simply means you're on lunch break
• Code Eleven - you're on the scene
...So, the rookie was on his first day of work.
Over the radio, he heard: "Code 11, take a code 7."
He thought he was supposed to stop for lunch at the 7-Eleven! :-)
Here are some additional jargon words quite relevant to the business world.
• FTP - "Failure To Pay" means a fine wasn't paid in accordance to the law. This bit of police jargon also applies to businesses when, for example, a customer hasn't paid for the service rendered or product delivered.
• I.R. Number - in police talk, this acronym stands for "Individual Record Number". Every person who is arrested is assigned an I.R. Number that stays in use for all correspondence related to that individual (including subsequent arrests). In the business world, an I.R. Number is similar to the account number assigned to each client or customer.
• NFA - "No Further Action" - this one is pretty self-explanatory. In the business world it could mean that a client is satisfied or a complaint has been resolved.
• WOFF - "Write off" - in police jargon, it means property has been written off for insurance purposes, the same that's often done in business.
• House Mouse - this refers to a police officer that rarely leaves the building for one reason or another. A house mouse in the business world might refer to someone who is always on site to help the associates in the field (contact person).
• TANGO - "Thank you!" This acronym could be used anywhere, anytime!
What purpose does police jargon, used in law enforcement and criminal justice, serve? As with any language, expression or terms that are used within a profession or organization, jargon provides an efficient method of communicating with each other. It also tends to unite people in a profession; they have their very own language or unique form of communication - similar to being a part of a club.
However, keep in mind that unless you are a police officer or work somehow in the criminal justice system, it's probably not advisable to use police jargon "reserved for police use" at your office.
For the businessperson, it's best to use straightforward language in the office and with clients so that nothing is likely to be misunderstood. And, when appropriate, use a bit of jargon customary in your line of work. It's acceptable to use jargon words between people who share the same expertise; it even fosters an environment of camaraderie. For more information on this or other things such as goal setting, getting ahead, feeling more content, please feel free to contact me through this website (there is no charge to do so).
Proper "business speak" is more professional and will garner you respect rather than possibly making people think you have a lot to learn. If you speak professionally - in a way the client or customer can understand clearly, you're more likely to land and keep the business you're aiming for.