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UT Body Farm attracting people worldwide for forensic training

"They're getting training that they could get nowhere else."

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Crime scene investigators from around the world are turning their focus this summer to the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee.

48 law enforcement officers from across the U.S. just left after completing a training course for recovering human remains.

40 people from the United Kingdom are at the Body Farm now, with more coming from Korea and Central America this fall.

"We have the largest skeletal collection of known individuals in the world," said Dr. Bill Bass, founder of the Body Farm.

He said worldwide appeal wasn't the original goal of the facility.

RELATED: UT's Body Farm teaches officers crucial forensic skills during summer training

"I don't think I even thought about that," said Bass. "The reason we had a body farm was because of the cases in Tennessee."

The Body Farm is used to study how humans decompose and it's hosted countless people for training in this type of forensics.

Most recently this summer, that includes law enforcement officers from towns without access to experts in this field.

"They're getting training that they could get nowhere else," said Bass. "This is going to cut down on the mistakes that they're going to make."

Officers learned how to map and recover remains, apply dental science to identifying remains, and how insects play a role in human decomposition.

"It's hands on," said Bass. "You're not reading about it and looking at it on TV."

Bass said that's a big part of why people are starting to come train at the Body Farm from other countries.

RELATED: Body Farm director says new Jack the Ripper evidence doesn't close the case

"Until you have felt [bones] and say oh, okay, I see that's a rough feel and so forth, you really don't know what that is," said Bass.

As more training sessions are added to accommodate more people at the Body Farm, Bass is glad to know his work is helping officers at their jobs.

"I've been here 48 years, and it's taken 48 years to get to the stage where people begin to see hey, that's a world class facility they've got there," said Bass.

As the Body Farm adds more courses for professionals, you can sign up online.

You must be employed in a field that involves medical and legal aspects to be accepted.

RELATED: UT dedicates Strong Hall atrium in honor of Dr. Bill Bass