I had briefed my squad thoroughly on what to expect on this particular raid. The suspects had been known to be armed with firearms, and to have ties to a local gang who deeply resented the police. We were going to the house just before 11:00 p.m. to serve a high-risk search warrant, which was the culminating affair in a two-month investigation of rampant drug sales in and around the residence. As I made the turn on the target street, my team was poised in the back of the van, weapons at the ready, muscles tense. A quiet calm descended as these professionals made last-minute mental preparations. The unmistakable sense of anticipation-a feeling I had felt a thousand times before while among these very men-hung in the air. I knew they were ready for whatever threat waited on the other side of the door, which was about to come crashing down under the weight of a sixty-pound ram, currently being lofted by one of my strongest operators.