A county in Tennessee was recently awarded a state grant, allowing it to expand a previously existing SMS service alert system.

Henry County, Tennessee was one of several communities in the state that obtained the ThreeStar grant for excellence in community development. The grant, which is through the State of Tennessee, awards parts of the state that show successes in jobs and economic development, fiscal strength and efficient government, public safety, education and workforce development and health and welfare.

According to the Paris, Tenn. Post-Intelligencer, a local newspaper, a portion of the grant will be used to expand an existing text alert system through the Henry County Sheriff's Department. That system, which launched earlier this year, provides country residents updates on police and public safety matters.

"Everyone texts these days, so we want you to be in the know," Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew told local television news outlet WBBJ when the system launched. "It's a good way for us to communicate with the public."

WBBJ reported that the text alert program was almost immediately adopted by residents, who liked receiving up to the minute updates on their phones.

"I think it might be a good idea for a lot of people around here getting around here and understanding what's going on in this little town," Henry County resident Randall Pritchett told WBBJ. "A lot of stuff goes on that people don't really know about. So, I think it's best for them to have it like this."

As good as this system was, it was always limited to police matters. The grant now allows Henry County to expand the system to include other types of notifications, such as severe weather updates or power outages.