Why is the Police Force Referred to as “12”?
The phrase “12” has been a long-held slang term used to refer to police officers or law enforcement in general. For many years, it has been used by police officers and civilians alike in an attempt to distinguish themselves from criminal elements. But why do they call themselves “12”?
The origins of the expression can be traced back to the 1930s. During this time, law enforcement agencies were employing new technology such as radios, which allowed them to communicate with one another more effectively. Because of their improved communication capabilities, they began referring to each other as “12” instead of their assigned unit designation numbers.
It was also during this time that many police departments instituted a standardized code set known as the 10 codes. This system was developed in order to help streamline communication between different services and allow officers to discretely communicate important information without broadcasting it over open airwaves. The 10 codes are still widely used today and are even used by some civilian radio operators for various purposes. The most commonly used code (10-4) became so ubiquitous that it even entered the popular vernacular as a way of saying that someone had understood the message being conveyed.
This same code system is also responsible for giving rise to the catchphrase “12” among members of law enforcement across the United States. In the 10-code system, a code for telling other officers that one is about to begin work on duty was designated as “10-12”, which gave birth to its shortened version “12” being used unofficially amongst members of law enforcement circles as shorthand for being on duty or ready for action while out patrolling areas or responding to calls for assistance.
Another possible origin of “12” may have come from its use in television and cinema throughout history where 12 was often associated with police officers due to its numerological symbolism; twelve represents completeness, precision, accuracy, and thoroughness – characteristics that embody what we expect from our police force day in day out.
Regardless of where it originated from, however, it’s clear that “12” has become an integral part of law enforcement culture both past and present. Its use continues today not only amongst those within the ranks but also by civilians who see it regularly broadcasted on television shows or heard referred to by people close to them – testimony perhaps that it reaches far beyond just those within the service itself!