In most US states do the police need a special warrant for a "no-knock" raid?

This is the story that sparked my question. It’s about an Iowa family being “terrorized” by a police raid. Note that I do not have enough information to know whether the police action in this case was justified and that’s not what my question is about. (The story seems to be particularly slanted against the police.)

What interests me is the legal basis for no-knock raids. Does the search warrant have to specify the raid as such or is it left to police discretion? Does the law vary much from state to state? Are there any constitutional issues involved? Is the author of the story correct when he writes that there is in actuality little distinction these days between a “knock-and-announce” and a “no-knock” raid?

The SCOTUS has found a general requirement for police to announce themselves before executing a search. So since the requirement is federal, I assume the need for a warrant to circumvent it exists in every state as well.

Is what we see on COPS i.e. “Police!!” a second before the door comes crashing in sufficient?

Well, generally that is followed by a lot of yelling “Police!” after the door crashes in. too. For a lot of good reasons, the police want you to know who they are.

“No-knock” warrants are supposed to be used under special circumstances which one would hope are pretty rare. The main one is if the police expect armed resistance. That is, they expect the people inside the place will attack the police, so announcing yourself is just giving them time to prepare, which makes it more likely that either they or a member of the police will be killed. It is therefore in the interest of the safety of not just the police but the people inside that the police not announce themselves. Convince a judge and get permission in writing.

As to the article in question, I don’t attribute this to a “militarization” of America so much as a creeping effect of government bureaucracy.
There’s an old joke/tale about a military base that kept a stockpile of paint in case they needed to camouflage the buildings. The problem is that paint goes bad over time in storage, and the “budget people” don’t want to pay to replace something you didn’t use. So the soldiers get nonsensical orders like painint the grass green so that the paint get used and must be replaced.

In our ideal world, your police department has a SWAT team, but never needs it. The Paramedics have an ambulance with advanced life support capability, but never need it. Government agencies are prepared for the worst, but never need it.
But in our bureaucracy, if you never use something, the budget for it goes away. If you never use the SWAT team, its funding is cut and it is disbanded.
So to keep the SWAT team, you need to use it. Even if that means using it for things it shouldn’t be used for.
I have read an ambulance driver commenting that the department keeps their climbing gear in a compartment on the ambulance just so it will increase the number of calls the ambulance must be dispatched on, and thus reduce the cost-per-call of the vehicle. This is sort of the same thing - if we don’t use it, the budget for it will be cut and we won’t have it when we need it.

Review this and the applicable state’s Rules of Crimimal Procedure. K@A warrants are the PREFERENCE.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/knock-and-announce_rule