A lawsuit filed by a Helena teacher says the Helena Police Department caused her "serious permanent hearing loss" during a mandatory active shooter training in 2016.
Lynn Trenary and her husband, Greg Trenary, both teachers with Helena Public Schools, participated in the training on or about June 10, 2016, at the Project for Alternative Learning. The exercise was meant to train teachers how to respond to a school shooting.
Filed in Helena District Court Wednesday, the complaint says Lynn Trenary was 20 feet away from an officer shooting blank ammunition while playing the role of an active shooter. It says she believed the officer was giving instructions and was trying to understand what he was saying when he came in "cussing, then firing his handgun."
The complaint said Lynn Trenary immediately experienced hearing loss and numbness in her left ear, as well as a loud ringing in her ears.
She was not given hearing protection or warned that shots would be fired near her and her husband, the complaint says. Hearing protection was later provided at her request.
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The complaint goes on to say that Lynn Trenary suffered a permanent tinnitus condition and other financial harm and loss, both emotionally and physically.
It accused the Helena Police Department of being negligent for failing to properly train its employees to conduct the exercise safely, failing to warn participants about the dangers of hearing injury from the exercise and failing to provide ear protection before firing handguns.
The plaintiff is asking for a jury trial, general and special compensatory damages for tinnitus, costs and any other relief decided by the court.
Helena's city attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.