HUGHES, Ark. — The Hughes Police Department in Arkansas, which shut down in 2019, had some of its cars set on fire overnight, officials say.

According to the mayor’s office, at around 12:30 a.m., three vehicles were engulfed in flames at the City Hall parking lot.

It is suspected that the incident is an act of arson. Arkansas State Police are investigating the case.

The city of Hughes shut down its police department in 2019 due to personnel problems. A statement was released saying the closure was due to “an insufficient number of fully certified officers.”

Police Chief Cortez Bowers said only three working patrol cars remain. He is asking an agency that might have a spare vehicle to consider donating it for the time being.

“We’re going to try to continue to provide the City of Hughes with a quality of service from the Hughes Police Department,” Bowers said.

Bowers couldn’t provide a dollar amount on the loss which will include radios and other police gear, but says they are insured.

“I don’t really want to speculate. I don’t really want to say it’s a citizen of Hughes that done this heinous act,” Bowers said. “But we are looking at everybody and everything to try and get this worked out and solved.”

Tuesday, arson investigators with the Arkansas State Police arrived review evidence and check video on a security camera mounted on City Hall near the burned cars.

Chief Bowers worries this act could be in response to his departments increasing efforts to crack down on crime in Hughes.

“When you try to affect real change, you get push back like this, but we’re going to take it and we’re going to continue moving forward,” he said.