Matt Owens, Worcester County deputy fire marshal, center, receives “Instructor of the Year” at the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission awards ceremony on Oct. 10. Pictured with him are Albert Liebno, deputy director of Maryland Police and Correction Training Commission, left, and Robert Green, Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services secretary.

(Nov. 15, 2019) Worcester County Deputy Fire Marshal Matt Owens was recognized as the “Instructor of the Year” by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission last month. Owens represented the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy out of Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury. 

The annual award is given to one instructor from each of the 32 regional police academies in Maryland. Owens received the award during the 19th Annual Instructor’s Awards & Training Conference on Oct. 10 in Sykesville.  

“I knew they had nominated me, but to actually receive it was overwhelming,” Owens said. 

The Worcester County Commissioners and county Fire Marshal Jeff McMahon also honored Owens during their meeting on Nov. 5. 

“During the course of training for both correctional and police officers, they use several hundred instructors throughout the course of the training,” McMahon said to the commissioners. “Typically, they hold two to three courses a year. Matt is just one of a couple hundred of those instructors that is being used by the training.” 

After Owens received his own law enforcement training at Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy, he returned to instruct others pursuing law enforcement careers and has been teaching for a little over 10 years now. He teaches a 26-week course at the police academy for eight or nine hours a day.

He added that his favorite part of teaching is “seeing the new faces and the energy they bring to law enforcement.” Owens said that teaching also helps him stay proficient in his own skills as deputy fire marshal. 

“It’s great to get the acknowledgement of doing something that you enjoy,” Owens said. 

John Moses, director of the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy at Wor-Wic Community College, nominated Owens because of his reliability and high student evaluations. 

“He has a tremendous ethical basis,” Moses said. “He’s really one of the most honest persons I’ve met in my entire life. He genuinely cares about the students.” 

Owens teaches strategies for fire extinguishers, fire control and practical skills. The practicals, as they are called, are based on real-life situations and help trainees prepare themselves for post-academy work. 

“They learn from him demonstrating the different techniques he does and his ability to coach them through different situations - his compassion to be able to calm them down because it is a high stress area,” Moses said. 

He added that it was a great honor for the Worcester County fire marshal. 

“It says that you’re exemplary and do a great job,” Moses said. 

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