Adairsville Police Chief Robert Jones, who took office earlier this year, said the department recently began using Nixle, a free website, that allows the department to advise citizens of traffic problems, missing persons or other advisories.
"What Nixle is is basically a way to reach out to the community and let them know [of alerts]," Jones said. "It's an early warning system ... Right now I believe we are the only ones in north Georgia using it."
The website, www.nixle.com, allows subscribers to sign up for notifications through email or text. Adairsville Police Department is currently the only local entity using the service.
Jones said that, while the service is beneficial, for those not using text messaging Nixle may not be the best route.
Referencing the devastating tornado that ripped through Joplin, Mo., Jones said he hopes residents using the alert service will heed the warnings. "It's starting to become, based on my experience, people are more immune to early warning detection. They're not really paying attention when the sirens go off."
During last week's severe weather, Jones said he used Nixle to alert residents to a tractor-trailer accident on Highway 41.
"For the police department, what it will do is send out traffic alerts, the big metropolis we are," Jones said. "[Last week] what I did was got on Nixle and said, 'Hey, avoid 41 if possible.' What that does is give the citizens another way to know there are hazards out there."
Founded in 2007, Nixle is free to law enforcement and emergency agencies and allows subscribers to sign up at no cost, although regular text messaging fees may apply. According to the website, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless support the program.
"Everybody is just kind of ignoring it," Jones said of the site. "It's free. It's a great thing. I'm really pushing this because I want everyone who can to sign up for it.
"It's a great tool for law enforcement. It's a great tool for citizens to get those weather advisories and traffic alerts."