Commissioner Ramsey, Professor Robinson, Director Davis and members of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, thank you for inviting me to testify today. My name is Hassan Aden and I am the former Chief of Police for the Greenville, North Carolina, Police Department and the Director of Research and Programs at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). I have over 27 years of law enforcement experience, and I am here today to testify on behalf of the IACP.
The IACP is the world's largest association of law enforcement executives, with more than 22,000 members in 98 different countries. For over 120 years, the IACP has been launching internationally acclaimed programs, speaking out on behalf of law enforcement, conducting ground-breaking research, and providing exemplary programs and services to the law enforcement profession across the globe. One of those programs is the IACP Center for Social Media which builds the capacity of law enforcement to use social media to prevent and solve crimes, strengthen police-community relations, and enhance services.
Law enforcement agencies of all sizes across the United States are using many forms of social media in innovative and effective ways. According to the fifth annual Center for Social Media Survey completed in late 2014, 95 percent of law enforcement agencies surveyed stated they were using some form of social media. Of those using social media, 78.8 percent indicated social media had helped to solve a crime in their jurisdiction and 77.5 percent stated that social media had improved police-community relations in their jurisdiction.
Social media allows law enforcement agencies to reach a broad, diverse audience, quickly, and in an unfiltered manner. These platforms also allow police to reach out in conversational ways to open lines of communication and show examples that break down stereotypes. By using these tools thoughtfully, agencies develop new levels of transparency and provide exceptional customer service, thereby enhancing relationships with individuals, businesses, and organizations throughout their community, not just online, but offline as well.