Press Release - 09-03-2021

DMV news

Friday, September 3, 2021



In 30 years at DMV, Owen McShane has focused on auto theft, fraud detection and identity theft

Owen McShane, Director of Field Investigations for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, is the recipient of the 2021 Lifetime Achievement in Highway Safety Award from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).  

The Division of Field Investigation is the criminal investigative branch of DMV and consists of 140 employees including 100 sworn investigators. The primary mission of the division is to conduct investigations related to auto theft, identity theft, odometer fraud and the use of fraudulent or altered documents.

“Owen McShane is well-deserving of this outstanding recognition,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “His hard work is a great credit to our agency and the services he provides has helped millions of New Yorkers by curtailing car theft, preventing underage drinking and stopping identity fraud.”

“AAMVA is pleased and proud to present Owen McShane with our lifetime achievement award. This well-deserved honor recognizes his many years of commitment to combating fraud, promoting highway safety, and keeping the public safe on the roads. He is truly a leader in our community, and AAMVA and our members have been well served by his expertise, knowledge, and leadership.”

When first hired by DMV as an investigator, McShane was assigned to address a surge of auto thefts in New York City. At the time, some 140,000 cars a year were being stolen, an average of 400 a day.

In 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, that number had been reduced to 7,000 a year or 20 a day.

After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, concerns were raised that the 19 hijackers had 54 valid licenses among them, though none from New York. McShane was tasked with strengthening New York’s fraud detection to make certain that there was only one valid license per customer. Additional investigators were hired and tools were added to offices to assist in document authentication.

Director since 2003, McShane began his career with the agency as an Investigator in 1991. During his tenure, McShane has held every investigative position in the unit, from entry level investigator, senior investigator, regional supervisor to chief investigator and finally director.

“I like making a difference and I feel like we provide an extra layer of protection to the citizens of New York,” McShane said.

In addition to his position, McShane also serves as an adjunct professor at the University at Albany College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity where he developed and taught new graduate and undergraduate courses in biometrics. He previously served as an adjunct professor at the Sage Colleges in Albany.

In addition to the award granted to McShane, the New York DMV received two other awards from AAMVA.

DMV was honored for a “Watch Your Speed” billboard and for a December 2019 media event focused on impaired driving where specialized goggles that demonstrate the effects of drug and alcohol impairment were made available to the media and public.