Plaquemine police officers are now required to wear body cameras while on duty in an effort to improve community relations between the police department and the public.

“Body cameras just make sense; they are a great, practical and reliable tool for strengthening police-public relations,” Interim Police Chief Kenny Payne said in a news release. “My police officers seem very optimistic about the new tool.”

The Plaquemine Police Department has 12 body cameras — one for each patrol officer — and the department is in the process of purchasing more for detectives and other specialized departments.

The light-weight cameras have 32 gigabytes of storage and battery life to last for a 12-hour shift.

The department’s new policy, which took effect on Aug. 3, was implemented after months of research and inquiries with other agencies already using the technology.

The policy requires an officer to activate the body cameras at the initiation of any law enforcement or investigative encounter with a member of the public.

Payne said in the news release the body cameras will accurately document police-public interaction, enhance the department’s ability to review incidents, augment evidence collected for investigation and prosecution purposes as well as provide useful information for officer evaluation and training.

Payne said the department spent about $10,000 to purchase the body cameras and supporting equipment.

Animal shelter plans fundraising event

The Pointe Coupee Animal Shelter is selling tickets to its jambalaya dinner fundraiser Aug. 20.

Donations are $8 per plate for a meal that includes jambalaya, white beans, salad and dessert.

The fundraiser will take place at the Cottonport Community Center on Main Street in New Roads. For tickets, call (225) 505-6784. Proceeds will help defray the cost of housing and feeding sheltered animals.

Public invited to lecture about Civil War-era art

The West Baton Rouge Museum at noon Wednesday will welcome Claudia Kheel, LSU’s Southern regional art historian and visiting professor, to speak at a lunchtime lecture titled, “Through the Eyes of the Artists: Civil War Paintings, Prints and Photographs.”

The talk will look at the artists who worked in Louisiana prior, during and after the Civil War.

The lecture will feature the works of French artist Marie Adrien Persac, Jean Joseph Vaudechamp, Jacques Amans and Adolph Rinck.

Newspaper illustrations published by Frank Leslie’s “Illustrated Newspaper” will also be reviewed as well as the works of Julien Hudson and Jules Lion, whose works reflect the community of the free people of color living and working in New Orleans prior to the war.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring a bag lunch.

Also, loaned copies of “New Orleans Boom and Blackout” are still being distributed at the museum in preparation for two book club events.

The first event is at noon Aug. 18 when photographer Thomas Neff will give a talk on his photographs and stories of Katrina survivors, which he later published in his own book “Holding Out and Hanging On.”

Then at 7 p.m. Aug. 20, participants are invited to take part in a discussion and book signing with author Brian Boyles.

Submit news to Terry Jones at (225) 326-6627 or tjones@