For human being who don’t job-related in any kind of field of law enforcement, you may have heard particular terms or phrases used by police officers and you’ve to be wondering what castle mean.

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Well, regulation enforcement has actually an entirely distinct lingo; this is why you have actually no proviso what they’re saying.

One that the aims of this “police jargon” is come ensure a feeling of unity amongst officers and likewise to provide the best method of communication between them.

These type of password or police jargon started from the 1920s to 1960s, together radio communication in between police police officers became an ext rampant.

This was since radio traffic necessary to be preserved low come ensure that communication lines don’t gain jammed.

However, in modern-day times through the breakthrough in technology, most of this terms used in police lingo space to quickly spread advantageous information around a criminal incident to policemans on the ground.


Initially, police lingo may look pointless or too challenging for servicemen to understand however these watch “meaningless” terms offer a substantial purpose.

It may seem the the totality purpose of making use of these acronyms is for the communication between two legislation enforcement males to remain encrypted native the public, however this is no so.

It might be component of the reason yet the main purpose of making usage of law enforcement jargon is to save the details being passed across straight come the point and short.

Aside indigenous this, the FCC (Federal communications Commission) is big on short transmissions; this is with the aim of conserving bandwidth.

If large volumes that radio transmissions space passed across through the airwaves that restricts its use for other reasons.

What’s more, this short and concise abbreviation are really important for the security of law enforcement officials, even if it is at traffic lights, complying with up a vehicle jack, or patrolling.

The primary aim of the officer have to be solving the task available or effectively taking care of the topic they room engaging with, without having to spend so much time trying come alert other officers on what’s happening.

To fancy some more, in 2016, 56 legislation enforcement police officers in the United states were eliminated in the heat of duty, through 26 the them eliminated by gunfire.

This mirrors what officers have to address on a daily basis.

In the heat of fire, every 2nd matters and also these password can aid an officer conveniently get information around a situation before it gets worse.

As much as protection matters room concerned, every single second and minute counts and also the sooner the right information is passed to the appropriate person, the greater the opportunities of resides being saved.

In the joined States, because that every one million civilian, there room a hundreds thousand police officers and also in order to ensure smooth operations with such a vast difference ratio, regulation enforcement agents must be able to communicate quickly and efficiently with each other and this communication is most reliable through codes.



Ever to be driving or in website traffic somewhere and also you all of sudden see a police vehicle speed passed you through its siren blaring and lights flashing?

If you’re like most people, you’ve more than likely thought around how they every knew where to go and where they to be going at the same time.

That’s in reality a valid train that thought because someone sent out them there and informed them they were necessary in that certain location, many times, urgently, i beg your pardon is why lock zoom past like that.

Often times, it to be a police dispatcher who directed them to that location. Police dispatchers space extremely necessary to the legislation enforcement agency.

They may be overlooked most times yet are a critical aspect come the success that police police officers in the field.


As us saw over police dispatchers are responsible for passing across distress calls to the police officers on patrol.

Do not be mistaken, as easy as sending short police slang acronyms to other regulation enforcement servicemen sounds, it have the right to be an extremely stressful.

More often, dispatchers also dual as 911 operators, this involves receiving distress calls and then dispatching officers to the location of the speak to using concise terms.

Dispatchers usually obtain the an initial contact v the distressed persons before other legislation enforcement agents do. This is why using brief codes or lingo is essential.

Most time the reason of call could be extremely urgent and also trying to pass the details regularly come police officers approximately that location can slow the response time down.

There are plenty of kinds the lingos, slangs and also acronyms offered by regulation enforcement agents, yet for the benefits of this article, we will certainly be examining a typical police jargon well-known as BOLO.

I’m pretty sure you must have heard this word being used by police officers and also you have actually wondered what on planet a BOLO is.

Here is what BOLO is not, BOLO is not a brand-new weapon offered by the police neither is that the surname of a new software provided by regulation enforcement agents. What then is BOLO?


BOLO is one acronym because that “Be top top the Lookout”.

It’s majorly used by legislation enforcement agents come send information to policemans in various other parts that a city or nation to it is in on the lookout because that a fugitive, criminal or legislation offender the is ~ above the run.

It could also be used for lacking persons or stolen items.

When one officer phone call another and says “BOLO because that a blonde man driving a red SUV through a wrong windscreen”, what the message simply means is the recipient of the contact should be on the Lookout for any blonde guy driving a red SUV with a broken windscreen.

It can probably be the the blonde man resulted in an accident and he fled the accident scene or that he was connected in a shootout with the police and he is top top the run.

Once the police officer obtain the call, that starts paying fist to every vehicle that overcome by him especially if that is a red vehicle and once he identify the car, he have the right to flag that down and also have the driver arrested or speak to for back-up if over there is a require for backup.

Most often a BOLO signal is sent to plenty of officers at a time.

If a crime is committed and also the culprit is on the run, all cops in the city and also the ones in ~ the various entry and also exit clues of the city consisting of airports, seaports, train and bus station and so on are alerted and they every swing into action to make sure that the criminal is caught.


A BOLO is issued largely in a situation where over there is a criminal top top the run from regulation enforcement agents.

Most times world break the law and instead of paying because that the offense, they try to play smart and send the police ~ above a wild goose follow after them.

It can be the there was an officer that witnessed the crime and also could not arrest the criminal due to the fact that he was overpowered or the crime to be reported via a 911 call and the description of the culprit to be given.

Once the regulation enforcement agents gain this report, castle swing into action immediately and also send a blog post to every their guys stationed in ~ the different corners the the city to it is in on the Lookout for the criminal.

A BOLO can be issued for a serial rapist or killer, a kidnapper, a robber, a corridor of thieves, members the a medicine cartel, smugglers, traffickers, and also even drunk drivers.

There is no details crime that a person needs to commit before a BOLO is approve on him, as far as the person is thought about a threat to the culture or castle absconding from paying for his offense, a BOLO is placed on him to make certain he is arrested.

A BOLO can additionally be authorize on a human being that is missing. When world get missing and their families can’t call them to understand their whereabouts and also safety, a report is made to the cops and a BOLO is sent to other policemans to it is in on the lookout for the absent person.

This will assist in recognize the missing person fast, it can be that the person was connected in an accident and didn’t have actually an identifier on him for identification or he was kidnapped or mugged.

Whatever the circumstance surrounding the loss may be, once a BOLO is approve the human being will easily be found.

A BOLO could additionally be issued on a absent or stolen item.

For example if someone’s vehicle got hijacked or stolen from him, he can contact the police and also alert them immediately that his car just got stolen from him, the will explain the car and the direction in i m sorry the thef went.

After the legislation enforcement agents receive the complaint, lock signal their men along that path to it is in on the lookout for the car of the guy so that the vehicle can be recovered and the theif apprehended.


When a BOLO contact is made concerning a human being or an object it isn’t a sketchy and summarized contact it is rather an extremely descriptive.

This is because, for every little thing or whoever that is to be arrest by the cops, they need to know precisely what they are looking for so the they perform not finish up arresting the not correct person.

When a human calls come report a crime, that is expected to offer as numerous details together he have the right to remember that the criminals to assist the police lay organize on the criminal without much stress.

The same is applicable as soon as a “Be top top the Lookout” order is issued.

If what is being tried to find is a person, the BOLO summary will incorporate the physical functions of the person and also his appearance such as:

His/Her gyeongju or skin shade (could it is in an Asian, a Caucasian, one African, or an Arab etc).His/Her hair color (blonde, brunette, grey, dyed etc).His/ she height and weight (it can be one estimation, due to the fact that the reporter that the crime might not have actually so many details he could say about 5 feet tall or any other height estimation)Gender (Male or female)Description the the clothing. The caller has actually to explain the garments the person is wearing. This description includes the form of garments if it is shorts, pants, dress, jumpsuit etc. The color of the clothing is likewise important. Every solitary detail around the clothes is important if the criminal has actually something as tiny as a handkerchief with him or a ring ~ above a finger that should likewise be included in the clothing description.Means the transport supplied by the offender: a car, motorcycle etc and also the summary of the means.

If the is things that is absent say a vehicle, the description additionally has to be detailed.

If it’s a automobile the following description will be provided for straightforward identification:

The manufacturer the the car. For example a Cadillac, Toyota, Mercedes, Ford etc.The model and year of the car.The shade of the car.The license plate variety of the car.Other distinctive details ~ above the car such together a sticker, the kind of rims offered on the tire, a damage on the auto etc.

All these information is vital so the the certain person or item is uncovered without any kind of mix-up.

A faint BOLO usually offers the policemans a challenging time due to the fact that it is simple for them to recognize the human or article if the details room elaborate.

When report a crime to the police or to 911 certain you provide all the details you know, this will certainly make their task easier.

That is why you discover cops ~ above crime scenes trying to acquire information from the eye witness the the crime, the an ext information castle have, the closer they acquire to apprehend the suspect.

Despite the truth that a BOLO is descriptive, the is likewise meant to be short and straight come the point.


Without being told, you can currently tell the BOLO is very beneficial to legislation enforcement agencies.

If it wasn’t crucial or helpful, that would have probably to be ditched a lengthy time ago.

Let’s see few of the importance of BOLO:

1. BOLO Facilitates the Apprehending that Criminals

Crime is on the boost on a daily basis and the best way law enforcement agents deserve to ensure that every criminal pays because that his crime is through making certain that he is arrested.

A survey by the FBI carried out in 2016 confirmed that about 1.2 million violent crimes to be committed in the united state in 2016 alone.

The exact same study confirmed that 64.3% that the report crime to be for aggravated assault while 26.6% to be over robbery, 7.7% to be rape-related crimes.

According to the same report, 10.7 million arrests excluding traffic violations to be made in 2016. Below is a Pie Chart showing the crime rate and the percentage of every crime


You can agree with me that this is a very vast figure.

You might be wondering just how the police were able to do all this arrests, a major percentage of these arrests to be made based on BOLO alerts.

If no for BOLO the figures would have actually been boosted by a greater percentage.

2. BOLO helps the regulation Enforcement Agents no to make Wrong Arrests

When a crime is committed, over there are numerous suspects, however the truth that someone is a doubt doesn’t make him guilty of the offense.

A BOLO speak to placed with the proper description of the culprit will aid the cops to gain the specific person.

The factor why innocent people are arrested periodically is due to the fact that the cops don’t have certain evidence the will link them to the offender and also so they finish up picking the not correct people.

Research brought out by Aizman legislation firm with information from the Michigan registry showed that at the very least 4.1 percent of every the defendants that had actually been sentenced to fatality were innocent.

According come the report, because the 1970s more than 8000 people who had been placed on the fatality row to be falsely convicted.

Below is a graph mirroring the exoneration that wrongfully accused persons on a yearly basis based on the data native the Michigan registry.


If there was precise BOLO approve out with the exact description of the offender, this innocent world wouldn’t have had to pay for offences castle didn’t commit.

3. A BOLO Can assist in the Arrest the a Defaulting Officer that is top top the Run

By sending out a signal come the various other cops, the defaulting cop won’t have the ability to infiltrate the system and also get away with the crime.

Sometimes, police officers are additionally guilty the committing offenses and if the eyewitness that the crime doesn’t speak to 911 instantly to report the cop may acquire away through it and actually silly the entire police force into no suspecting that he is the criminal.

Some cops have actually been judge of crime they committed while lock were off duty.

Below is a chart showing the data of cops that have been arrested as result of committing offenses in between the year 2005 come 2011.


Most of castle didn’t commit the crime while on duty or wearing their uniform however with the accurate description from one or two eyewitnesses, the defaulting cop to be caught.

In a situation like that, a BOLO is sent out to his/her various other colleagues and also he/she is arrested instantly before further harm is done.

4. A BOLO can Be supplied to alarm Members of the Public

In some cases, a BOLO is inserted for the public, warning them to be on the lookout for a dangerous criminal the is top top the run.

This information deserve to be pass via a broadcast or through newspaper or newspaper publication.

This will help to store the windy alert and also make them conveniently identify the criminal as soon as spotted and also to report to the nearest police terminal immediately.

Warning the general public will also assist to conserve the lives of part unsuspecting civilization that may loss victim come the criminal’s attack.

Sometimes the police may have a hard time apprehending part criminals and also in bespeak to keep the public safe and to easily get news ~ above the criminal, castle alert the general public to it is in on the lookout.

This form of BOLO has actually helped to conserve the resides of many people and has additionally gotten criminals that room on the operation arrested.

For example, if a rapist or a serial killer is ~ above the run and the cops are having a tough time apprehending him, castle alert the general public to be at alert and give a description of the criminal and sometimes if the photo is available, the picture of the criminal will certainly be attached.

Members of the public space advised to alert the police if the criminal is spotted.

This is mainly done because that serial criminal who have actually a particular pattern or bicycle they monitor to strike people or criminals that have picked ~ above a particular set of victims.


The BOLO code is essential to aid police officers understand details of a subject very quickly i m sorry aids the rate of their solution time.

However, this is just one the the numerous acronyms in the “police jargon.”

If you are looking for a job in the police pressure or simply are simply interested by such distinct codes, by currently you need to be may be to totally understand what the code BOLO means.

So, the following time girlfriend hear the password BOLO, you know what to it is in on the lookout for.

So far, BOLO has helped the law enforcement agents come arrest, convict and also charge criminal for your offenses.

If BOLO to be not offered by cops, an ext than fifty percent of criminals would certainly have obtained away through the crime, because criminals will have the ability to easily on slide past officers stationed at strategy points without policemen or women on duty learning a want criminal or a steal item simply passed under your nose.

For example, if a bank robbery taken place in the facility of town and also the robbers drove in the direction of the outskirt that the town, the only way the police policemans at the border and the outskirts of the town will certainly be alerted that the approaching group of criminals is through a BOLO.

Without the BOLO, the criminals can drive past and even wave the cops on duty without them suspecting anything.

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With the usage of BOLO, regulation enforcement agents have the right to now job-related together together one through the exact same information, in ~ the same time, come clamp down on criminal and additionally to reclaim stolen and absent items or people.