Notes on Hansen Photos: Police Chief Marvin Wiseman

In an August 2, 2017 post, we revealed never-before-published photos of Robert Hansen. The following is a transcription of a letter from former Pohahontas, Iowa, Police Chief Marvin Wiseman, which accompanied two “vintage” photos from Pocahontas resident Ralph Hudek. Chief Wiseman knew Robert Hansen all too well.

3-20-91
Mt. Pleasant, Ia

Dear Leland Hale

Here are the pictures you requested. The picture of Bob Hansen in the group is in the top row on the right. The Junior Police Corps was active in the late 50’s and early 60’s in Pocahontas, Iowa. Boys aged 12 -18 were eligible. Bob Hansen was one of the instructors for a couple of years with the group.

Marvin was with the Pocahontas Police Department at that time as Police Chief. The picture of Marvin in uniform was taken in the summer of 62 in front of city hall on main street.

Sincerely & Good Luck
Mr. & Mrs. Marvin C. Wiseman

Robert Hansen, Junior Police Corps, Iowa
Junior Police Corps, Pocahontas, Iowa; Marvin Wiseman, at left (courtesy Ralph Hudek)

Chief Marvin Wiseman, Pocahontas, IA, Summer 1962
Pocahontas Police Chief, Marvin Wiseman, Summer, 1962 (courtesy Ralph Hudek)

Worth noting is the fact that it was Wiseman who promoted Bob Hansen to the position of Junior Police Corps instructor — and Wiseman who eased him out of that position when a troubled Hansen returned to Pocahontas after a stint in the U.S. Army.

Hansen was so troubled that soon thereafter he committed arson at a Pocahontas school bus barn. A polygraph operator who interviewed Hansen in conjunction with that crime felt compelled to warn the police chief about their chief suspect: “Man, you better watch it,” he told Wiseman. “You’ve been living in danger. That kid was planning on blowing up your house.

When he returned from the Army, Bob became the ringleader of a younger group of kids. They didn’t have much use for the “Poky” Police Department. They were a bunch of rural smart-asses, full of mischief and capable of almost anything.

In the months before the arson fire… Bob and his friends were suspected of blowing up a tractor in the town of Rolfe, just north of Pocahontas. They were apparently practicing for an attempt on the Pocahontas water tower, and had used a single stick of dynamite in their practice run. Only a fire in a bus barn intervened to thwart the attempt on the water tower.

From “Butcher, Baker”

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