The skywalk may be nearly empty but the doors are open from morning to night.
“Everyone’s welcome to be here,” says security guard, Will Hunter, “this is a public space and I respect that.”
Hunter’s job with Per Mar Security is to keep the public space a peaceful one. It’s not easy. “We do have the shelter down here and you have a lot of mental illness in the homeless community” he says, “and that’s just a sad fact.”
Last week two people walked repeatedly in front of the Hubbell Tower Apartments door. Manager Shay Lindberg—her young child at her side–finally opened it, asking if there was a problem. One of the people grabbed her child. A struggle ensued, but Lindberg was armed.
Sergeant Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department says this is one example of a lawfully-possessed gun doing something well. “It certainly looks like the big turning point here, the pivotal piece to keeping her child safe was the fact that she was lawfully-armed with a handgun, and she produced it and told them ‘let go of my kid.’”
The man and woman walked off and Lindberg called Will Hunter. “It took Shay about three sentences to describe (her) and I’m like ‘that’s Laurie’…she’s been around, hanging around,” says Hunter. Per Mar Security takes the names of all who cause problems in the skywalk.
Hunter called police, gave names, but then followed the pair until police could take over.
“To have that security guard there in that spot at that moment was probably the most critical piece to this…because he was able to keep an eye on both of these people…as they made their way through the skywalk, down to a restaurant and onto a bus.”
Hunter says between Per Mar patrols, security cameras, and regular communications with police, the skywalk is actually very safe…and especially in winter, open to all. “Everybody’s welcome on the skywalk. If everybody’s following the rules, you are not gonna be bothered by security because it Is a public place.”
Per Mar Security was hired by the Skywalk Association in 2020–right after a couple was assaulted by a group of teens as they were out on a dinner date. Per Mar is not only in contact with the Des Moines Police, but also with the C.I.S.S. shelter and Bethel Mission–and with the Polk County Jail. WHO 13 attempted to contact Shay Lindberg for this story but she did not respond to messages.