Monday, August 31, 2015

Phonetic Spelling

Like most first-responder agencies, we use a phonetic alphabet on the radio. It's simply necessary, because so many letters can sound alike over the air. We don't use the military one (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta, echo, etc.), but one that's mostly names (adam, boy, charles, david, edward, etc.).

Having spent a huge amount of time on the radio while in the Marine Corps, I had to practice the "name alphabet" in my off time while I was in police training in order to get used to it. I used to do things like call out plates in my head while driving around, or even do it out loud when I was pretty sure somebody couldn't see or hear me. It was important to get it down so it was second nature, and I wasn't fumbling and stammering when it counted. By the time I was out on my own, I could do it without thinking about it.

A friend of mine in a neighboring agency couldn't be bothered. He would make stuff up as he went along, and part of the time dispatch didn't know what the hell he was doing. He was counseled about it several times, but that didn't seem to make an impression on him.

Finally, one night he was stopping a vehicle, and called out the plate as "1-2-3-bucket-camel-taco". He was removed from patrol duty almost immediately after. Years later, he's still working at the jail.


Anonymous said...

That is so damn funny. Bucket Camel Taco
Every time I look at it, I laugh again. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Points for creativity, amiright? Funny as hell.

I'm not military, I'm not law enforcement. I work at a power plant, and we use the military phonetic alphabet, and I can never remember some of the "sierra" for "S" one day, I was be-bopping along with something over the sitewide intercom and came upon an "S". I froze..and the first word that came to mind? Yup..'shit' that's what I said.

I was 'coached', and I haven't forgotten 'sierra' since.

Anonymous said...

I work in a doctor's office, and often need to use some sort of phonetic alphabet to find our patients in our system. We have mostly elderly patients who are hard of hearing and are just more difficult to understand. I was having particular trouble with one, and I was trying to spell his last name. I asked "P as in Peter?" and he replied, "No, V as in Xylophone". ???? I looked him up by date of birth, and his name started with a Z.

I also had a patient spell his name with "I as in eyeball".