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Why are the police called twelve?

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There is no definite definition but there are two possible beliefs of how it started. 12, referring to a 10 code (10-12) was used at some agencies as "caution when approaching". So many drug dealers would refer to the DEA and drug enforcement as 12. Another possible belief is from the show Adam-12

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To clarify, 12 is not the cops, not the police. NO. 12 is the narcotics officers that show up at your door, or the drug task force in other words the DEA (Drug enforcement Administration).

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