God Squad Trains For Black Spring Break

About 25 people turned out for the four hour training session on Saturday. Mediators talked to them about different types of conflict resolution and told God Squad members that if they get into a situation they can't handle, it's o.k. to call someone else over to help. They also reinforced the importance of reading body language and listening.

Justice Department mediators say God Squads have helped in other Spring Break towns to calm situations so the police don't have to get involved.

"If we get defensive an we become confrontational, we just create a worse situation, so we have to assume that they're wanting some level of respect and we have to give it to them without regard to who they are or what they're doing," said Roy Wikoff, a God Squad member.

"Maybe I can't reach that person, but someone else can, so if they're going to upset me, maybe pastor Frances is with me. He may be able to reach them," said Rev. Cornelius Hilliard.

"Their roll is to be a buffer between law enforcement and the spring breakers," said Ernie Jones, a Justice Department mediator. " They are able to because they're civilians, because they're not law enforcement, to deal with some issues that the police really don't have to deal with."

The God Squad is expecting about 80 people to participate this year. They'll work six hour shifts and should be visible to the public because they'll be wearing shirts and hats.