apb vs. bolo

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Jul 3, 2014.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

    I've been watching cop shows on TV for many years and have noticed a recent change in copspeak. In the past a policewide bulletin looking for a suspect was called an apb (all points bulletin). More recently the term bolo (be on look out) appeared instead. Does this reflect TV writers or police usage?
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Possibly to do with the region / city as to which is used?
    Also, is an APB not a more generic bulletin about a certain event... e.g. a prison break, bank robbery etc?
    Whereas a BOLO is about a specific person, or a vehicle, wanted in connection with a crime?
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    According to Wikipedia, there is no difference.
    • APB is the original term, first recorded in 1960.
    • BOLO is a new coinage, so new that it's only mentioned in passing in the APB article. Unlike APB, it is not yet in Dictionary.com.
    And both should, indeed, be written in all capitals. They are still treated as abbreviations, rather than making the transition to words, like "laser" (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). Many acronyms (pronounceable abbreviations like laser and sonar) do eventually become accepted as words and make the transition to lower-case. But many do not, such as COBOL.

    BOLO is pronounceable, as we hear on cop shows. Perhaps one day it will achieve the status of a word and be written in lower case. It's unlikely to cause confusion because the only synonyms are a string tie that passes as formal wear among cowboys and a large hacking knife developed in the Philippines.

    But it seems unlikely that we'll ever find a way to pronounce APB as a word.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. Motor Daddy ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ Valued Senior Member

  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Yes, that was in the dictionary too. I figured it was a little too arcane to include. I wasn't even sure about bothering to list the bolo knife.
  9. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    But shouldn't it be BOTLO? If not, then BLO?
  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    In the title of a book or movie, some of the "little" words are not capitalized. The Lord of the Rings is usually abbreviated LOTR, which leaves out the first "the" completely. I guess you can't accuse people of insisting on a "foolish consisitency".
  11. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

    I can't speak for anyone else but it designated two separate things in our organization:
    APB had a more important rating than BOLO
    BOLO was used as a more general term (we had dozens of BOLO or updated BOLO's every day)
    APB was used to specify that it was a little more important and needed more attention

    but that was just our dept.
    I've heard some dept's decided to scrap both terms and goto a more logical sounding natural way of expressing the situation: BOLO sounds better and is easier to remember, so it was used instead of the APB
    there was also the problem with giving the info over the radio and background noise/mixing it up with other terms.

    This is NOT recent info- this is as per 2000 when I retired.
    and my department has changed since then likely

    you can see at this link: http://forums.officer.com/t39148/
    that it differs at different places
    Wiki has some good info on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-points_bulletin

    again... it is part of the country, department, associations, the boss, local radio guidelines, etc.

    hope that helps and answers the question.

Share This Page