The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department serves the largest geographic county in the United States. The Sheriff is an elected official with a four year term and no limit to time in office.
Floyd Tidwell served as Sheriff from 1983 to 1991. The Chino Hills Murders were committed six months into his first term.
During the time of Kevin Cooper’s arrest and conviction, Sheriff Floyd Tidwell was actively stealing confiscated weapons from evidence lockers.
January 1982 – Undersheriff Floyd Tidwell is investigated for keeping lists of political supporters on department computers in his campaign for Sheriff. This is a violation of state law and department personnel rules.
June 1983 – The Chino Hills Murders take place.
April 1986 – Garry Brown, Floyd Tidwell’s 1982 Election Campaign Chairman, is charged with multiple felony counts in connection with a prostitution operation, including “pimping and pandering, maintaining a house of prostitution and conspiracy to launder money”. Eight other people are charged, including former honorary sheriff’s deputy, James Price.
May 1986 – Two deputies resign, three others are suspended and three other sheriff’s employee are fired after an investigation into allegation that some had sex with a female Explorer Scout.
July 1988 – Sheriff Tidwell and his deputies are accused of conspiracy to cover up and incident regarding Mexican nationals beaten by the deputies.
September 1988 – Captain Bill Baird, Chief of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s crime lab, resigns after the disappearance of hard drugs held as evidence in the lab for at least 30 criminal cases going back to 1985. Baird served with the department since 1980 and was directly involved with the Chino Hills Murder case.
December 1988 – Sheriff Tidwell is found to be issuing concealed-weapon permits outside legal guidelines requiring burden of proof of the requestor. Tidwell’s department policy is to issue permits to anyone that requests and, in many cases, for a longer period of time than mandated.
February 2004 – Floyd Tidwell’s son, Steven Wayne Tidwell, pleads guilty to felony conspiracy to illegally solicit bail. Tidwell’s wife, Shirley Tidwell, pleads guilty to misdemeanor charges of filing false and forged documents and perjury related to the crime. Tidwell’s other son, Daniel Boone Tidwell, is indicted on charges including perjury, falsifying documents and grand theft.
May 2004 – Floyd Tidwell pleads guilty to four felony counts of taking at least 523 guns from evidence lockers during his terms as Sheriff from 1983 to 1991.