PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Starting later this month, members of the public will no longer be able to comment on a popular Tampa Bay area law enforcement agency’s social media posts.

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office announced Monday it will disallow comments on social media beginning Jan. 24. The change is due to an increase in tips being submitted to the agency’s social media pages, the sheriff’s office said.

In a Facebook post announcing the change, the agency explained, “As we continually note, our social media platforms are not constantly monitored 24 hours a day and as such, PSO personnel may not see the tip in the comments or messages until much later.”

“If someone saw a missing person, for instance, and they are commenting, ‘hey they are here right now’ but they never called in that tip or submitted that tip online, then potentially by the time we see that tip that person has moved on,” Pasco Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Amanda Hunter said.

The sheriff’s office said it’s noticed the increase in social media tips “over the course of several months” and noted that information on the proper ways to submit tips has been provided consistently.

The move to disallow social media comments is an attempt to “ensure that PSO is made aware of any and all tips as soon as possible through the proper channels,” the agency said. While comments will no longer be allowed, the social media channels will remain active.

Dr. Kelli Burns, a social media expert with the University of South Florida, questions the agency’s move.

“There could be some very important tips coming through this medium,” Dr. Burns said. “It’s an extra step to go to have to call something in or email something or even go to a website to type in some information so I think it’s a disappointment to some extent that they don’t have the staff or the resources to monitor their social media full time.”

The sheriff’s office said the public can call its non-emergency line at (727) 847-8102, option seven and can reach the crime tips line at 1-800-706-2488. Members of the public can also report a crime online and submit a tip on the sheriff’s office website.