Using Clear Text communications is a part of the NIMS (National
Incident Management System). Part of the NIMS IS-704 Course
specifies the following:
- Use plain language for most communications, whether oral or written. This ensures that information dissemination is timely, clear, acknowledged, and understood by all intended recipients. Protocols for use of tactical language and encryption should also be available for the limited cases where a high level of security is required (e.g., an ongoing terrorist event).
- Do not use codes or acronyms. Because codes are not standardized across jurisdictions, using 10-codes or other coded language can result in miscommunication and confusion when multiple agencies and disciplines respond to an incident. Similarly, acronyms used by one agency or jurisdiction may not be understood by another and can lead to confusion.
- Confine radio communications to essential messages. Just because you can talk to everyone doesn’t mean you should. During incident response activities, radio traffic should be restricted to those messages necessary for the effective execution of emergency management/response personnel tasks.
- Develop policies and procedures that foster compatibility to allow information sharing among all personnel and their affiliated organizations to the greatest extent possible. Work with partners to develop joint policies and procedures for use of plain language, and provide training to personnel who will implement them.
- Practice using plain language for routine activities. Although NIMS does not require it, everyday use of plain language and common terminology will make it easier to do so in complex incidents.
Cleartext was never mandated for use within individual departments but for use when Interoperability between many different departments is needed.
The local PD in the town in which I grew up switched to Cleartext 7 years ago and it was never a big deal.
From the original email sent out from the department:
In February of 2006, The National Incident Management System (NIMS) Integration Center sent out a bulletin requiring Plain English be used for multi-agency events, such as a major disaster. Beginning October 2006, federal preparedness grant funding was contingent on the use of common terminology in incidents requiring assistance from responders from other agencies and jurisdictions.
Beginning January 1, 2007, the XXXXXX Police Department will be converting from the current 10-codes to ClearText (plain language) communication. This new protocol will assure compliance suggested by the National Incident Management System (NIMS). This new policy is a step toward ensuring that during multi-jurisdictional incidents or any other time other agencies must communicate through the radio system, everyone involved understands what is being communicated. The following codes and signals may still be utilized as necessary.
They continued using a few codes/signals for officer safety but for the most part stopped using any codes/signals. A vehicle stop is a vehicle stop not a "signal 10" nor "10-38".
I am all for using clear text as long as officer safety is not compromised.