The Carter County Sheriff’s Department is now offering county residents an up-to-the-minute way to stay informed.

Sheriff Milton Anthony said Friday the department is utilizing the Nixle Community Information Service to send alert type messages to subscribed residents instantly via cell phone, text message and/or email. In addition, notifications can also be accessed online at www.nixle.com.

“We think it’s important to provide citizens with information about what’s happening in and around their communities,” Anthony said. “We will initially begin using basic Nixle services. That service broadcasts messages to the entire county — things like information about missing persons, traffic accidents and stolen vehicles. In the future we hope to be able to target citizens living in specific areas and be able to alert them to potentially dangerous situations in their area or to be aware of things like burglaries that are occurring in their area.”

The sheriff said the Nixle service is free, reliable and easy to use. Citizens can decide how to receive alerts — by text messages, phone voice mail, email or by logging onto the website.

Carter County residents and those living in nearby communities can sign up for immediate service by registering at www.nixle.com, or by texting 888777 and sending the message CARTERCOUNTY. A message will be returned asking for the person’s zip code. Replying with the zip code completes the process.

“We think it’s vital to get pertinent information to citizens as quickly as possible. We’re very excited to be able offer this service. We want everyone in Carter County to be actively engaged in law enforcement, and in the Carter County Sheriff’s Department specifically,” Anthony said.