SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — What do you do if a registered sex offender moves into your neighborhood?

That was a question posed to CBS42 by neighbors in Shelby County after they received a flyer in the mail from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, alerting them that a sex offender had recently moved into the Brook Highland area.

“We’re gonna make sure the community knows who you are, we’re gonna make sure the community knows where you live,” Chief Deputy Clay Hammac with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said. “If this is an uncomfortable situation for a convicted sex offender, that’s okay with us.”

Hammac said the alert is a proactive approach to protect the community. Under Alabama law, once a registered sex offender is released from prison and moves into their community, the SCSO sends out a flyer to everyone living within 2,000 feet of their address. Alabama law also mandates that registered sex offenders can’t live within 2,000 feet of school zones or any type of daycare.

However, this tactic is not used for every registered sex offender in the area — generally for those with more serious offenses.

Hammac offered some guidance for parents and families who may be concerned.

“Have an age-appropriate conversation with your student, with your child. Make sure that they are aware of what this means. Now, we also want to make sure that we’re being good neighbors and good stewards of building relationships. We’re not asking our community to target anyone,” Hammac said.

At the end of the day, the chief emphasized trusting your instincts and your gut.  

“Just be aware of your surroundings, make sure that you’re keyed into things that may look out of place, things that may not feel right, and please what we encourage is never ever hesitate to dial 911,” Hammac said.

If you live in Shelby County and want to know if registered sex offenders are living near you, head to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office website.