Wells quickly became known as "Policewoman Number One" because of the interviews and also from the badge she was issued. Initially, Wells was given a patrolman's badge. A police officer had free trolley car privileges in 1910, but when Wells tried boarding, the conductor accused her of misusing her husband's identity. The LAPD remedied the situation by issuing Wells "Policewoman's Badge Number One."
Wells toured the nation starting in 1915, promoting the hiring of women police officers. She also founded the International Association of Policewomen. In 1934, she was appointed the historian of the Los Angeles Police Department. By the time she had retired in 1940, Wells had been a policewoman for 30 years.
Wells died in August, 1957. Ten policewomen in full dress uniform served as Honor Guard. She is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.