WESTLOCK – For the first since it went live Jan. 15, the Westlock RCMP have used the crime coalition component of the Westlock Regional Notification System: Connect to find a wanted man.
On Nov. 17, the RCMP issued a general notice for Andrew Lysohirka, 30, who is wanted for violent, non-domestic offences and is known to drive a white 2014 Chevy Equinox with Alberta licence plate number CFW6910. The alert states people should not approach Lysohirka and if they do have any information on him, or the white SUV, they should call 911 immediately.
Westlock RCMP Staff Sgt. Al Baird couldn’t offer specifics on the case, except to say that Lysohirka was involved in an incident in January and is well-known to police.
“It’s a detailed file so I don’t have anything further I can add at this time because I have to take into consideration the victim. There are multiple offenders and this is the last one we’re looking for,” said Baird, who explains the use of the system in an Oct. 18 video posted to the Town of Westlock YouTube channel.
“This is one tool to let the public know what’s happening. In this case this person has a propensity for violence so it’s something we want people to be aware of.”
The notification system
The Westlock Regional Notification System: Connect came online Dec. 1, 2020 and is a partnership between the Town of Westlock, Westlock County and Village of Clyde to provide “a timely and consistent approach to emergency and municipal communications in our region.”
The system provides options to customize not only the information people receive, but how they get it — alerts can be received via text message, automated phone calls, social media, or e-mail. People can also choose which municipality and even a combination of information in categories like transportation, utilities, waste disposal, community, council updates, emergency services and the Westlock and Area Crime Coalition — the coalition uses the WACC user group to share important messages.
And although the RCMP have used the system a handful of time for alerts on motor vehicle accidents, this is the first time they’ve used it to find an offender. According to stats provided at the town’s Nov. 8 meeting, 339 people signed up to receive e-mail, text, and voice mail notifications from Connect in September, while in October the total jumped by 82 to 412. Meanwhile there were 370 people signed on for the WACC category in September, which jumped to 450 in October. People can sign up for the system at the town, county and village websites.
“We’ve typically used it for collisions, but because it’s a person crime offence, it raises the level of it as well. We don’t want to inundate people with releases … we want to be careful on what we’re releasing so people pay attention to what we do roll out,” said Baird.