OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has set up a public "exchange area" outside its northwest Omaha headquarters to make public interactions safer.

The marked area in the front parking lot of the building is intended to be a neutral location to conduct e-commerce transactions, child custody exchanges and other types of lawful transactions.

The area has video cameras recording all transactions. But Sheriff Tim Dunning says it's still important to use good judgment when meeting others in the exchange area. He recommends conduct meetings in daylight hours, bringing a friend or relative when meeting strangers, and having a cellphone readily available to call 911 if necessary. He also says the public should be aware of recent or ongoing scams and should conduct transactions with cash when possible, not personal checks.