D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, seen here to the left of Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, will ask the D.C. Council for expanded police powers to detain those who violate terms of parole and probation. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Responding to the District’s surging homicide rate, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser will ask the D.C. Council to expand law enforcement powers to make it easier for officers to search individuals on parole or probation and immediately detain anyone found in violation of the terms of release.

Bowser hinted at the idea in a televised interview Tuesday, saying she would propose “closing some gaps in our laws. We have been talking about making it easier for our supervising agencies to identify and search for illegal guns that may be in the hands of a violent offender,” the mayor said.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) confirmed details of the proposal.

When Bowser (D) spoke, the District’s homicide total had reached 103, just two shy of the total for all of 2014. Late Monday, police said a financial analyst from Texas had died of wounds suffered Saturday during an assault near Howard University.

Mendelson said he met recently with the mayor and that her plan is essentially a reintroduction of a bill he authored in 2013.

That bill, which succumbed to opposition from public defenders and more liberal members of the council, would have allowed D.C. police to search individuals on parole or probation at any time of the day or night and detain them for up to 72 hours if they are found in violation of even minor infractions.

John Falcicchio, Bowser’s chief of staff, said the searches would not be conducted by D.C. police under the mayor’s proposal but by the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency and others who supervise D.C. offenders. How exactly that would work, however, remained unclear. Those officers are not armed, according to the D.C. police union, and require D.C. police escorts to conduct searches and to detain offenders.

Mendelson said convicted criminals must agree to such terms as conditions of their release but are rarely held to account through random searches under restrictions placed on authorities.

Mendelson said more aggressive enforcement of current rules on the city’s 10,000 people on parole and probation could go a long way.

“Before there is violence, I believe there are things we can do to deter someone from even picking up a gun,” Mendelson said. “If they do, they will know immediately that they have made their decision” to potentially return to prison.

The proposal drew immediate criticism from Julia Leighton, general counsel for the city’s Public Defender Service.

“Recent experience with arbitrary stop and frisk policies has made clear that programs that target classes of people, in their homes, on the street, and in their cars for intrusive, humiliating treatment . . . exacerbate existing distrust of law enforcement,” Leighton said in an e-mail.

In the interview Tuesday on News Channel 8, Bowser said she would address the public Thursday and release a number of new initiatives to combat the rising homicide rate. Bowser said that not all of the answers will lie with policing. One would be aimed at more collaboration with neighborhoods to stamp out violence.

“When I go out to neighborhood meetings, people are telling me about long-standing disputes between neighborhoods,” Bowser said. “We are going to ask for the community’s assistance to squash those issues, help people resolve disputes in different ways.”

D.C. Council members are also taking up the issue, and the city’s homicide spike appears poised to dominate the legislative agenda when lawmakers return from summer recess next month.

Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) has called together all members of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for a crime briefing Monday. She said many new community leaders, including several who have never been in office during such a spike in homicides, are struggling to find the words to console and comfort constituents.

Freshman council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) has taken a different approach. She is launching a neighborhood watch training program next month in Ward 1, which includes some of the city’s fastest-growing neighborhoods around U Street and Columbia Heights.

Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5), chairman of the judiciary committee, has also scheduled an evening hearing on violent crime for the council’s first night back in session Sept. 16. McDuffie is also working on a package of police reform legislation.

Mendelson said he may also propose additional legislative efforts to better empower police.

Bowser’s proposal could substantially increase the number of parole and probation violators subject to detention. Currently only the most serious of offenders are detained.

Delroy Burton, the chairman of the D.C. police union, backs the 72-hour hold as a useful tool to quickly remove dangerous offenders from the streets. But allowing D.C. police into homes for checks is problematic, he said — turning officers who are supposed to prevent crime into probation agents.

“We’re not in the parole and probationary business,” Burton said. “I have a problem giving police officers the ability to do what probation officers do when we don’t know any of these detainees’ history. It could be dangerous.”

Leighton, of the public defender service, said a program of more detentions “would have the police act as warriors against vulnerable communities at a time when these communities and experts are crying out for the police to act with them as guardians instead,” she said.