An emergency vehicle radio, also known as police radio, is a special radio station heard in most emergency vehicles in the Grand Theft Auto series. With a few exceptions (i.e. the Predator), nearly all emergency vehicles have an emergency radio.
Upon entering an emergency vehicle, such as a police car, ambulance or fire truck, the player is not able to listen to the in-game radio. Instead, the emergency service's radio communications are heard, where chatter, instructions and information are relayed to and from a unseen police control room and police units on the ground. Messages heard include reports of disturbances, requests for help, replies and humorous verbal exchanges. Police often uses codes (such as the 10-codes, 11-codes, and so on) to provide short, clear and consistent messages. The codes used in GTA games do not appear to match codes use in the real world, although different police forces often use their own 10-codes.
The audio track for the emergency radio are identical between GTA 1 and GTA III, having been featured as a partially inaudible looped track for police chatter only. In GTA Vice City, a completely new looped track was used, containing more specific dialog between the police dispatcher and police units on duty, as well as requests from police officer to dispatch medical or fire services. The loop is rerecorded again for GTA San Andreas, this time featuring two versions, one played under normal conditions, and another played during the Los Santos riots; the former implies that the emergency radio is used by all branches of the San Andreas Police Department, and the latter implies major disturbances occurring not only in Los Santos, but also Red County, Whetstone, San Fierro, and Las Venturas
Radio reports on player's criminal acts
For much of the series, police chatter reporting of a disturbance by the player at that location can be heard, regardless of whether or not the player is in an emergency vehicle. In both GTA 1 and GTA 2, any infraction (including "Bump 'n' Shunt" vehicle collisions) are usually followed by police radio chatter reporting that a crime has been committed; reports of inbound law enforcement units can also be heard when the player is under higher wanted levels. Since GTA III (except GTA Advance and GTA Chinatown Wars), such police chatter will only be heard when the player's wanted level is raised or is on a one-star level or above.
If the player's wanted level increases in GTA IV, it can be beneficial to hijack a law enforcement vehicle as the player can use the radio to listen in on where the police are and what reinforcements are incoming. The player can listen to the police radio while being chased; it will indicate which vehicles the police are sending after the protagonist. The "dispatched from [location]" gives the general spawning point for police vehicles. Some are: "Dispatch X (number of police units, usually 2-6) units from __", "Dispatch Air Unit from __", "Dispatch FIB team from __" and "Dispatch NOOSE team from __". By knowing which law enforcement teams are located and when they will jump into action, the player can easily shake off the police.
The following vehicles are equiped with an emergency vehicle radio.
- Barracks OL
- FBI Car
- FBI Rancher
- FBI Truck
- FBI Washington
- Police Car
- SWAT Tank
- Police Maverick
- VCPD Cheetah
- VCPD Wintergreen
The vehicles mentioned below are vehicles which are emergency service vehicles, but are not equiped with an emergency vehicle radio.
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For a transcript of the emergency vehicle radio in each game, see below:
- GTA San Andreas, see /GTASA