YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – For over 20 years, Malik Mostella has served the people of Youngstown as a police officer.

He says it’s his desire to help people that keeps him going.

“The most challenging part of the job is when you wanna help somebody, but you can’t because they’re not ready to help themselves. When you know that there’s areas that they can progress in, but they’re not ready to do it themselves and you know that they can succeed if they do it,” Mostella said.

Mostella is the community liaison for the Youngstown Police Department. This means he works to bridge the gap between policing and the community.

“Some of the programming that we’re doing, like my mentorship program, we’re involved in the Youngstown City Schools with that… We do community engagement. We do speeches, we do career days,” he said.

A life-long resident of Youngstown, he says it’s always been important to him to help the people from his own town.

“Being from this community, it’s our community we should protect it. We know it better than anybody else. I wish we had more people from the city of Youngstown, regardless of what you are, who you are, to be police officers here, because it’s our city. We know it better than anybody else, we should protect it,” he said.

But, it doesn’t stop in Youngstown. Although he is a Youngstown officer, Mostella goes beyond city limits in his role as a community liaison.

“I just did a class with Kent Trumbull branch where they brought the kids in from Warren G. Harding, and we showed them how to set up a crime scene, how to process it, what each person’s job does,” he said.

Mostella also worked in Youngstown City Schools for years. He says working with the students is rewarding but also takes sacrifice as it is an additional shift onto an officer’s normal duties.

“You gotta have heart to be in the schools, cause you’re spending time with the kids, you wanna be with the kids, you’re not just sitting there, you’re not guarding a door,” he said.

He says even after he retires, he knows he will continue to work with the police and the community in some aspect.

Mostella says anyone who would like to get in touch with him for community outreach or anyone interested in joining YPD can reach out to him at 330-207-0418.