He made his ‘Mark’

Hoboken State Delegate Aurigemma ends an illustrious career

Longtime Hoboken Local 2 State Delegate Mark Aurigemma could walk into fire and stay calm. He was a leader and reliable friend. He may not have been loquacious, but he was highly regarded as an experienced officer and Local member whose words were well worth listening to, and his advice was rock-solid. Fellow Local 2 members maintain that he was a fixture in the department.

Local 2 President Marc Marsi described a hairy situation with a drunk, screaming, agitated man who was ready to get into an altercation with officers. Marsi was trying to navigate how to put handcuffs on the man when Aurigemma showed up to the scene. Aurigemma asked the man, “Are you having a bad day?” Then he shooed the other officers away. Within a couple of minutes, the man calmly walked back to the officers. Marsi looked at Aurigemma, who shrugged and said, “Don’t even worry about it, he’s good.”

This is just one of many examples of Aurigemma using his calm attitude to de-escalate a situation in his 35 years on the job, which culminated with retiring at the end of 2020.

“In our job, you can very easily get provoked,” shared Marsi. “To maintain that steady demeanor for over 35 years is something that not a lot of officers can do and not a lot of human beings can do.”

Due to his laid-back and even-tempered persona, Aurigemma was able to get along with anyone without ever getting into a disagreement. Marsi could not think of one citizen or officer filing a complaint against Aurigemma during his entire career.

“He’s got a Ph.D. in relaxation,” said Marsi.

Aurigemma was sworn into the department in 1984 and held numerous positions, including State Delegate since 1994. He retires as the NJSPBA second vice president. He also served as a chair for the state PBA Blue Mass in Newark held every October.

Some of Aurigemma’s most important work came from fulfilling his charitable duties by supervising and pioneering annual events like the Halloween ragamuffin parade, Thanksgiving turkey drive and Toys for Tots. He holds Special Olympics near and dear to his heart and has assured the Local he will continue to participate in their events, along with helping out wherever else he can.

“The events definitely wouldn’t have taken off and been as successful as it was if he wasn’t involved,” Marsi stated. “That’s the kind of person we’re going to be missing.”

As a colleague, Aurigemma, who credits his wife Cathy, son Andrew, and daughter Annette for his longevity, took lead of events like the community breakfast, an annual gathering between police and firefighters in Hoboken, and the Local’s annual picnic along the Hudson River. It may not have been part of his official duties, but he was always the first one to step up.

“He was the operator of the grill,” noted Christopher Hatfield, the new Local 2 interim State Delegate. “No lie, he was on there for 12 hours on a hot summer day.”

Marsi and Hatfield mentioned the importance of a supportive family for an officer like Aurigemma who was so active in the Local.

“His family members constantly sacrificed their family time so that he can do 100 percent of his job and then some,” Hatfield remarked. “They helped him be the best [officer] he can be.”

In a career that has traversed many decades, Aurigemma has always upheld the idea of calming down a situation, even before the word “de-escalation” was widely used in law enforcement.

“Before those notions were even in fashion, he was deploying them on the street as a cop,” Marsi added. “He could still, to this day, probably be the standard by which most police officers should be measured.”

There is a colloquialism that is unique to most of the law enforcement officers in the Local that Aurigemma coined – “cump,” morphed from “compadre.” Marsi remembered hearing Aurigemma calling all the members “cump” and how it rolled off his tongue.

“He’s the original cump,” Marsi declared.