Editor’s note: The Police Officers we interview are speaking to us in an ‘off the job’ capacity and their views may differ with and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective Departments.
In our third installment of the Knife Cops series, we interviewed Officer Michael Cardin. Officer Cardin is a knife enthusiast and a 10 year veteran in Florida.
Officer Cardin combines a prepared mindset with a love for knives and gear. He lives by the adage “it’s better to have and not need, than need and not have,” and insists that knives are just as important as his primary weapon- his firearm.
Cardin’s go-to knives are his ZT 0550 and a Kershaw Cryo, both of which he carries on duty. He is especially fond of his ZT 0550, after all it is made of his preferred steel – s35vn. “I’ve just found that it retains its edge very well and isn’t as prone to chipping as some of the other steels I’ve used. I’m also able to sharpen it fairly well.”
Cardin has encountered many instances where his knives have come in handy and bailed him out of a tough spot. “The uses for knives in law enforcement are many. From cutting away clothing on an injured person, cutting seat belts, as an emergency defensive weapon, and the list goes on.” Cardin added that he has used his ZT 0550 to even pry open a door jam in order to gain access. “I totally expected my knife to be trashed after that but it never missed a beat,” he explained. Cardin also told us he has never had to use a knife in a defensive situation, and would like to keep it that way. Common uses of his knives include packing evidence, cutting clothing, and removing the occasional rogue thread from his duty uniform.
In his particular Department, knives are not issued to Officers. “Honestly, I think it would be great if the department would issue every officer a decent knife. I realize that the reason they probably don’t is that they’d be liable for training the officers how to use it and such, but I would like to see it happen.” He has also only noticed one other person that is on par with his level of knife mania.
Cardin let us in on his long history with knives as far back as his childhood. “My grandfather gave me my first knife, which was a little pearl handled lockback which he rounded the tip on. I’ve been carrying and using one since and couldn’t imagine being without it.”
His use of knives also stretches into everyday life when he’s out of uniform. “Whether it’s on or off duty, I’m never without a knife, even if I’m just around the house,” he says. Cardin tells us that on duty he has at least two knives, a mini multi tool and mini pry bar (which is his latest acquisition) on his person. “In addition, I carry a full sized multi tool in my patrol and personal vehicle.”
The higher end knife world wasn’t something Cardin discovered until about 6 years ago. Admittedly, he regards Zero Tolerance as his favorite brand and has bought, sold and traded many different ZT models and so far hasn’t been disappointed. “Currently, at the top of my list are the new 0804CF, and 0450CF, they’re two awesome looking blades.”
He is also planning on adding some customs to his collection in the future. “I am amazed at the outstanding craftsmanship of some of the custom knife makers. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to add any customs to my collection as of yet, but one day I will,” Cardin tells us. Beyond his love of knives, Cardin told us about his overall fascination with every day carry gear. “Along with knives, the EDC world as a whole is quite enthralling. With flashlights, pry bars, pens, the list goes on and on.”
Knife featured in image: ZT 0550