Michael Cardenaz is a 30 year veteran of law enforcement. He began his law enforcement career in 1988 with the Augusta Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, in the state of Georgia. Starting out, as did every “new hire” in those days, as a jailor. Over the next 14 years Michael advanced through the road patrol, traffic division, DUI Task Force, training division, SWAT Team, uniformed supervisor in Special Operations over CST/K9 and eventually left the agency as a supervisor and SWAT Team Leader to pursue a career in federal law enforcement. Prior to his departure he was also the state course manager for GA POST Basic SWAT through Master SWAT courses. Over his 30 ongoing years, he has trained, operated and trained with military and law-enforcement personnel all over the world on every continent and domestically. He holds a multitude of instructor and “train the trainer” certifications on both the state and federal levels. Mainly in advanced firearms, tactical special operations, VIP protection and critical incident management. Michael spent 2 years training with and eventually instructing with GSG-9 in Germany, his home country where he was born and raised. German being his first language helped him train other units in Israel, the Middle East and Brazil before returning back to the U.S. to teach tactics to specialized units around the country. He has taught at the FBI Academy in Quantico and other FLETC facilities around the country as well as training tactics and combat shooting at SEAL Beach in Coronado CA., Mid-South Institute in Northern Mississippi with John Shaw, Front Sight Training Institute and adjunct instructor with HSS and Strike Force Inc. to military and LE specialized units. However, to this day on occasion, instructs in basic local academy classes in the southeast because, “it is the most rewarding. A bright eyed, clean slate with less ego and preconceptions.” He is currently still employed with a clandestine agency within the US federal government in an enforcement role.
Michael enjoys motorcycling. It was his idea to have a benefit ride to honor his former fallen co-worker and friend JD. During the organization and planning, it “developed a life of it’s own.” In just over 7 years and the selflessness of the Paugh family, a foundation was born. It has turned into a nationally recognized 501c3 charity with a registered name, logo and trademark under Michael’s leadership. As he likes to refer to it, “We accidentally founded a law enforcement foundation due to a great many amazing people for an amazing LEO.”
He is married to Nicole Cardenaz and has a 21 year old son Dalton, daughter Skylar, 10 and a step-daughter Miranda, 10.