Gov. Scott Walker says he is open to limiting collective bargaining for police and firefighter unions, just as was done to other public sectors unions two years ago.
Walker's comments made during a speech in Milwaukee on Monday drew swift and negative reactions on Tuesday.
Wisconsin Professional Police Association executive director Jim Palmer says Walker made a "serious misstep" and "disappointing that public safety now appears to be taking a back seat to partisan presidential politics."
Walker is frequently mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for president in 2016.
Walker told the Governmental Research Association meeting that he exempted police and firefighters in 2011 out of concerns that public safety would be jeopardized if they went on strike or took other job actions.