The New Albany Police Department plans to reach out to residents through a mobile phone application called MyPD.
MyPD is available as a free download for iPhones and Android smartphones at mypdapp.com.
Police Chief Greg Jones said the department introduced MyPD two weeks ago and 200 people already are using it.
Jones said the department decided to promote the application after meeting last year with community members.
"They said they are eager to have different ways to communicate with the police department and to have the police department communicate with them," Jones said.
MyPD allows users to receive tweets and updated information from the police department, as well as submit tips and pose questions to their local police departments.
Jones said many of the recent questions have been related to construction on Main and Market streets, where a roundabout is being installed.
He said the police department has been able to notify residents about changes in traffic patterns and explain the larger volumes of traffic at other intersections, which could be caused by the construction detour.
Users also can commend an officer on MyPD or send photos of suspicious activity that would be sent directly to an officer on duty.
Jones said the police department already sends out notifications using such social media applications as Twitter and via email using addresses of people who have provided their contact information on the department's website.
Jones called MyPD one more tool to help keep residents in touch with local police.
However, he said, the app is not a replacement for 911.
"If you need a timely response, you still should call 911," Jones said.
Jones said the department will pay about $400 a year to maintain MyPD, describing it as an inexpensive way to reach out to residents.
MyPD does not give user information to third parties and police can contact people submitting tips only if they provide a phone number or email address, according to the MyPD website.
The user's location would not be shared or tracked through a global-positioning system unless the user sends the location to the police department.
Jones said he knew of three other Ohio police departments using the application; none were local.
The MyPD website says 150 departments nationwide use the system.
MyPD was created by a startup company called WiredBlue, which was founded near Boston.