CCSD Support Specialist Harold Lowery announces bid for sheriff
by The Press and Standard | June 28, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: June 26, 2019 at 3:05 pm
Harold Ray Lowery knew what he wanted to be when he was seven years old. “I have been saying that one day I was going to be the sheriff of Colleton County.”
Now is the time, Lowery said, to act on that youngster’s dream. He is announcing his bid to run for Colleton County sheriff in next year’s Democratic primary.
He credits his two grandfathers for the facets that have guided his life.
“My willingness to help people came from grandfather Master Sergeant Frank Burkett. He is still POW-MIA from Korea. In honor of his not yet returning, I have tried to dedicate my life to public service, to serve the Lord and serve people.”
His other grandfather, Norman Lowery, “instilled a work ethic in me, instilled morals and ethics in me.” Lowery, a life long member of Doctors Creek Baptist Church, said, “My grandfather poured his heart and soul into that church.”
Lowery, a resident of Round O, is a positive behavior support specialist with the Colleton County School District. He has been with the school district for 14 years, lured away from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office by former School Superintendent Charles Gale.
Lowery had been a school resource officer at Ruffin Middle School for three years when Gale made the offer. He said Gale “liked the way I operated, the way I dealt with people and children.”
Lowery accepted the post. “I thought I could do more at the time to help the children by taking on that role.”
“Money never been an issue for me, you tell by the careers,” Lowery said. “Money isn’t my driving force, helping people is my driving force.’
Lowery graduated from Walterboro High School and then joined the U.S. Army; he spent three years in the military, serving as a paratrooper.
He graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in 2000 and joined the Walterboro Police Department, spending two years on road patrol before moving onto the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. The move, Lowery said, offered him “more opportunity to help people.”
After road patrol, he then became the school resource officer.
Lowery was a paid member of the sheriff’s office for five years before moving to the school district. He spent another five years volunteering his time and talents as a reserve officer with the sheriff’s office. “It turned out I put in more reserve time than I thought ever would.”
His time working road patrol and handling discipline problems for the school district were not the only paths Lowery took to prepare him for the sheriff’s post.
In 2017, Lowery graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice. Lowery and his daughter Sierra Mae Lowery graduated the same day from USC.
He previously obtained associate of science degrees in liberal arts and science at USC, that coursework assisting him in work with the school district.
“Being recently educated,” Lowery said, “I have learned many new techniques and tactics along with the use of technology. Armed with that knowledge, he explained, “I feel I can bring the sheriff’s office into a new age of fighting crime.
“The children have left the nest, I have been formally educated, my wife is behind me 150 percent and the recent events have spurred me to want to serve on a bigger stage,” Lowery said. “I think it is the right time. I think the Lord believes it is the right time.”
Lowery’s platform is straightforward: “It is about protecting our most vulnerable citizens — children, the elderly and vulnerable adults. I have a proactive and comprehensive plan to put into place if and when I become the sheriff.
“The first part of my proactive step is going to be installing a resource officer in every school in the county. The elementary schools, with our most vulnerable citizens, are for the most part uncovered.” That change will begin to happen the day he takes office, he said. “If I have to go to those schools and set up a satellite until I can fill those positions, that is what I will do.”
“It is not a want, it is a need,” Lowery said. And it is a need that extends beyond the classroom.
Elementary school-aged children, he explained, are the most impressionable. Having those young students form relationships with school resource officers he said, “is going to change the culture; we are going to form good kids and good families by using the resources already available. That is the way we will become truly proactive and that will be the way we change the culture. It is not a process that is going to happen overnight.
“It will be a steady, on-going process to ensure that culture remains intact once it is place,” Lowery added.
Lowery continued to discuss his priorities if elected sheriff. “Community policing is not riding by in patrol car with the windows up, doing 55. It is forming relationships with people in communities around Colleton County and building a rapport with those people.
“I am going to bring accountability, transparency and equality back to the sheriff’s office, if elected,” Lowery said. “When we are able as a sheriff’s office to bring those qualities back,” he said, “it will produce integrity in the office of sheriff.”
Lowery and his wife Angela will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in September; both were born and raised in Colleton County.
They have three children: Lindsey Carter is an environmental scientist with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Sierra Mae Lowery works with the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office.
Their youngest, Zachary Raymond Lowery, is a senior at USC-Bluffton where he is working towards a degree in biology.