I enjoyed your column about the Madison Police and Fire Commission ("The PFC - Not Worth Defending," 9/28/07) and read it after returning from San Jose from a conference of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.
I met the directors of several oversight agencies across the U.S. and tried to explain how Madison's system for filing citizen complaints of misconduct against police officers works, including the lack of any independent investigation either internally or externally by the department or any other agency.
They all found it quite amusing that a town with a reputation for being "progressive" would be so regressive on the issue of civilian police oversight, especially since more and more American cities are opting to increase police oversight.
William Carlos Weeden, assistant clinical professor, Neighborhood Law Project, UW-Madison Law School
Blindsided by depression
Thank you for your article on post-partum depression ("'A Hidden Disease in Our Culture,'" 9/21/07). I can confirm its damaging consequences through personal experience. My mother was blindsided by depression that began the day I was born and continued through her next pregnancy, despite her ongoing efforts to find help.
On my first day of life, she contemplated jumping to her death from her hospital room window. She was holding me at that moment. Again and again as a young child, I was forced into my mother's zone of suicidal depression because I needed her. I felt danger when I was close to her. I was not a child of war or physical or sexual abuse, but I emerged from her care with post-traumatic stress disorder that was only diagnosed in my later 20s.
My mother's depression began to lift about the time I entered kindergarten. Today I am able to talk with her about its effect on me. I hope that education of the public and health-care providers will not only continue but increase.