Polk official resigns amid complaints he used police lights to pass traffic


Sam Cardinale, the head of the 10th Judicial Circuit State Attorneys Office is stepping down after a citizen complained he activated his patrol car’s lights to pass other cars on the road.

The citizen sent an email to the Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky in April claiming they saw a Ford Crown Victoria driving aggressively with police lights on.

Chief Elensky notified the Polk County Sheriff’s Office of the citizen’s concerns and the sheriff’s office created a BOLO asking other agencies to look for the vehicle. 

A sergeant with the Lake Hamilton Police Department stopped the car in late April and identified the driver as Sam Cardinale, the executive director of the 10th Judicial Circuit State Attorneys Office. Cardinale wasn’t doing anything illegal, so the sergeant let him go.

Cardinale eventually admitted to using those lights on the roads and this week, he submitted a resignation letter. But the Haines City Police Chief says he will not face any criminal charges.

According to published reports, Cardinale had been with the state attorney’s office for 16 years. His resignation was effective the day after he submitted it.

New Channel 8 tried to reach him for a comment but we were unable to connect with him. 

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