The detective who handled the investigation into the hit-and-run death of Barry Moss will become the new Town of Evans police chief next month.
The Evans Town Board named Detective Lt. Douglas J. Czora, 50, to succeed Ernest Masullo, who is retiring.
"I'm really looking forward to it," said Czora, a Marine Corps veteran. "We have a department with a lot of really professional people, and my goal is to get them all working together. And our number one concern is to make sure every officer goes home to family safely at the end of every day."
Masullo recently announced his plans to retire on Dec. 9. He said he supported Czora's appointment to succeed him. He said Czora was the primary investigator into the December 2013 death of Moss, a 52-year-old handyman.
Czora's investigation led to Gabriele Ballowe, the former owner of a popular Angola beach bar. The probe took many unusual twists and turns -- including a public dispute between the police force and former District Attorney Frank Sedita III -- before Ballowe took a recent guilty plea that could result to state imprisonment for up to a year.
"Doug is a man of integrity...He worked tirelessly to obtain justice for my brother, even when things seemed hopeless," said Maria Wrafter, the sister of Barry Moss. She said she and her family were thankful for Czora's promotion.
Czora said he was gratified by the outcome of the case. He thanked Masullo, members of the Moss family, Detective Bruce Green, State Police and the FBI for their help in the investigation.
"We knew pretty much from the beginning that we had a good case," Czora said. "We had physical evidence, we had statements from witnesses. We knew there was a case we could proceed on."
A lifelong Evans resident, Czora is a graduate of Lake Shore High School, Erie Community College and Buffalo State College. He also serves as a volunteer firefighter with the Highland Hose Company in the hamlet of Derby.
The Evans police chief heads a department of 29 officers in a town of 16,000 people. In the past, the job has paid about $100,000 a year, but Czora said he does not yet know what his salary will be.
He thanked members of the town board for appointing him to the position.