By George P. Hassett
Ex-Somerville cop James Tatosky fought Nazi’s in World War II and among martial arts legends Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee – but it’s a cat burglar in Winter Hill he’ll tell you about first.
Tatosky, honored last night by aldermen, caught the expert thief after then-Police Chief Thomas O’Brien promised a five day paid vacation to the arresting officer. “That’s one he’s proud of,” said Alderman-at-Large Jack Connolly.
Tatosky, often seen driving through Davis Square on his motorized scooter these days, was honored last night for four decades of work as a police officer. “They say old men don’t cry,” he said after two standing ovations in his honor last night. “But they can. You made me feel like a million dollars tonight.”
Tatosky enlisted in the United States Navy when he was 16 and fought in the Battle of the Atlantic against the German navy – 22 of 33 ships and the soldiers aboard didn’t survive the battle but Tatosky made it back.
From 1949 to 1981 Tatosky worked in the Somerville Police Department, instituting the first motorcycle and k-9 units in the city.
He is an internationally known martial arts instructor – respected by students as sensei – and he’s competed in tournaments with top fighters such as Lee and Norris.