Walterboro Police Lt. Craig Stivender joins the 2020 race for Colleton’s sheriff

by | March 21, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: March 20, 2019 at 9:04 am

“My goal is going to be Cleaning Up Colleton,” said Craig Stivender, who has publicly announced that he will run for Colleton County Sheriff next year. “That is going to be my catch phrase.”
The primaries for the county offices on the November 2020 ballot won’t be until the spring of 2020. The period for filing a statement of candidacy will be shortly after the New Year.
“My intention was not to come out so early,” said Stivender, who is currently a captain with the Walterboro Police Department. He is in charge of the city police department’s Investigations and Road Patrol Divisions.
He changed his mind after learning two other potential candidates, Adolphus Pinckney and Tony Buchanan, made their intentions known.
With the other candidates out seeking supporters, Stivender said he ran the risk of losing potential support by not announcing.
Stivender said he will file to run in the Republican primary, the same primary that Pinckney and Buchanan are reportedly considering. R.A. Strickland, the incumbent sheriff, ran as a Republican four years ago.
Stivender said he considers both Pinckney and Buchanan friends. They share a common goal, he said, “to replace what we have got now.”
Stivender said, “I don’t think it should be a partisan position.” But to make a viable run for sheriff, he had to choose a party. He decided on the Republican Party, Stivender said, because “it most closely aligns with my morale beliefs. As a Christian man, I have to go with the Republican Party. I don’t agree with everything they do, but they most closely align with me.”
This week saw Stivender unveil his campaign’s social media presence, putting up his web page, Stivender for Sherifff.com, and his Facebook site, Stivenderforsheriff.
Born and raised in Cottageville, Stivender graduated from Walterboro High School and then began pursuing a degree in English at the College of Charleston.
He spent his freshman year on campus and then decided he would commute from Cottageville to class.
Then working and money became a priority and he left the classroom and began doing plumbing work. The plan was to spend a year or two learning about the job, obtain his plumbing license and then take over the business.
Even though plumbing offered a steady income, Stivender said it was “not where my heart was.”
“Law enforcement was something I had always liked as a child growing up,” he explained. That interest didn’t dim. “That is what I really wanted to do.”
He talked it over with former Cottageville Police Chief Ray Taylor, who gave him a chance to go to the academy and begin his law enforcement career as a member of the Cottageville Police Department in 2005.
He stayed there for a year and then signed on with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office and worked there for approximately four years before becoming a member of the Walterboro Police Department. He has been with the city department for nine years. He began in road patrol, then investigations, then and narcotics investigation. When Police Chief Wade Marvin took over the city police department, he promoted Stivender to lieutenant and put him in charge of the investigations division. He was then promoted to captain, becoming third in the chain of command for the city police department.
In his 14 years of law enforcement, Stivender said, “my goal was always to eventually run for sheriff. I never put a time-frame on it, it was just my goal. When you get into a career, you always want to be the best in your career, and I feel like in order to be the best, you have to be a leader,” Stivender said.
“At this point in time, I believe I have got the experience. I have worked my way up through the ranks through several departments, done my entire career in law enforcement in Colleton County, and I just feel like Colleton County deserves a leader at this point in time that will stand up for what is right. They need a man of probity, someone with high moral integrity,” Stivender said. “Leadership starts from the top. If people are not leading correctly, then people underneath them follow suit.”
“I feel like our county deserves a leader who is focused on fixing the problems at hand in Colleton County,” he added.
Stivender, 36, and his wife Rebecca have been married for six years and have three children together.
Stivender said, “I am who I am. A member of Cottagevillle Baptist Church, where I have been a deacon for probably 10 years and I teach adult Sunday school class. I’m a member of Jenkins Hunting Club. A family man, placing God and family before anything else, I’m not going to change or do anything different from that.”

comments » 9

  1. Comment by P.K.

    March 22, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    What do you mean by “cleaning up Colleton County?” Be more specific if you want votes. I hope you know that the clean up job should start within the sheriff’s office! 2020 is going to be a great year for Colleton County because we are definitely going to have a new sheriff. I hope you’re willing to clean up the corruption before you start on citizens. You have to be a lot more specific and explain your plans before you get my vote.

  2. Comment by P.K.

    March 22, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    The Republican party seems stacked with sheriff candidates. Hmmm, I wonder what Strickland is this year. First he was a Democrat, then a Republican. Guarantee he’ll be a Democrat this year because there’s no way he’ll get the nomination against any of the Republican candidates. Well, he won’t get reelected either way.

  3. Comment by P.M.

    March 22, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Not putting words in anyone’s mouth, but I’m hoping, trusting, and believing from all I’ve read thus far that “cleaning up colleton” means exactly what P.K. says it should mean. Mr. Stivender is likely trying to be kind by not saying exactly what “cleaning up colleton” means, but there is no one in this county, including Mr. Stivender, who does not realize that the clean up needs to happen from the top down. The “clean up colleton” starts with “we the voters,” and it will start when we “vote out” the current administration and vote in someone who will bring in a totally new administration. May the man best suited to do this win.

  4. Comment by P.K.

    March 22, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    P.M. , very well said. The cleaning definitely has to start within the department, from regular patrol officers to investigators. If a candidate isn’t going to explain what cleaning up means, he’s not getting my vote and I’ll sure spread the word. One thing is for sure, there will be a new sheriff. The current sheriff is already defeated, and he knows it.

  5. Comment by Houdini

    March 22, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    From college, to the plumbing job, to Cottageville police department, to Colleton County Sheriff’s office, to Walterboro Police department, seems that this guy has a history of quitting. I’m not so sure someone like that would make a good sheriff and make the changes that are desperately needed in Colleton County. And I agree with the statements above. Explain what you mean by “cleaning up Colleton County.” A better phrase would be “cleaning up the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, and being a sheriff that citizens can actually come in and talk to. The kid that is office now is never available and wants people to make appointments to see him. You’re not Donald Trump son. I can not wait for the election results to come in and see that Colleton County made the change that is most needed!

  6. Comment by Hp

    March 23, 2019 at 10:23 am

    This is one-off the most crooked officer out there. Clean up starts on the inside

  7. Comment by P.K.

    March 23, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Hp, I completely agree!! This guy is just as corrupt as the current administration. He’ll never win the election. People have very good memories, and saying that you are “religious” has nothing to do with politics, that’s only a ploy to try to get votes from people. Do not buy into it people!!!

  8. Comment by Hunter

    March 23, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Stivender = Strickland. Same thing, same results.

  9. Comment by CCCC

    March 25, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    This man is definitely not the answer. Colleton County does NOT need this man in office, it’s bad enough that he’s an officer already. Don’t use religion to try and garner votes.

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