Twenty-three miles east of us, by the corner of Dexter and West Chicago, in Detroit’s near north side, several black Wayne County sheriff deputies were facing something much more ominous than freezing weather. They were experiencing a cop’s worst nightmare.

Christmastime 1972 was one for the ages. I was a 24-year-old undercover cop assigned to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department Metropolitan Narcotics Squad. It was December, and I was also serving with Company F, 425th Infantry (Ranger), in the Michigan National Guard.