The Dawson County Sheriff's Office is now one of more than 3,600 law enforcement agencies across the country using instant messaging to communicate with the public.
Sgt. Johnny Holtzclaw said the new alert system has the ability to instantly notify the public about everything from car wrecks and missing children, to road closings and community events through text messages and e-mail alerts.
The local alert system, known as Nixle, went live on April 2 announcing plans for a safety event at Dawson County Middle School this weekend.
Last week, a new alert notified citizens of a possible paving scam after two men knocked on the front door of a home in western Dawson County saying they would repave the homeowner's driveway for $600.
The phone number and address listed on the flyer were returned to a Super 8 motel in Norcross.
"Sheriff Billy Carlisle warns residents to be aware of individuals who may show up at your home offering to pave your driveway," the alert said.
Holtzclaw said the alerts are a win-win for department and its citizens.
"It opens up the lines of communication and works like a virtual neighborhood watch," Holtzclaw said.
And while users cannot respond directly to the alerts, they are encouraged to call the sheriff's office with tips.
Citizens may now sign up to receive instant alerts on Nixle.com. Standard text message rates apply, and users can choose instant messages, e-mails or both.