Meckley, a 26-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, has previously filled in when there is a vacancy at the Bel Air Police Department, such as when he is needed to oversee a shift.
"He knows the men and women, and he knows the command and control, as well as the town," Fielder said.
The medical leave and Meckley being named interim chief were the subjects of a closed session held after a town commissioners' work session Tuesday evening.
Meckley, 47, has been with the Sheriff's Office since 1988; his salary is $111,966 a year, according to Cristie Kahler, spokesperson for the agency.
The Police Services Bureau that Meckley oversees in the Sheriff's Office includes two precincts – the northern in Jarrettsville and the southern in Edgewood – and a special operations division, which includes the Community Action Response Team, Gang Suppression Unit, Traffic Unit, Community Policing, K-9 and several secondary assignment units, which encompasses the Special Response Team, the Crisis Negotiation Team, SCUBA team and Honor Guard, according to the Sheriff's Office web site.
"Our neighboring agency needed help, and we're helping them out in their time of need," Meckley said during an interview in the chief's office.
He said he was asked by Sheriff Jesse Bane to take on the interim chief's role and he "graciously accepted."
"I probably have four of the best captains in police work in the state, so they are certainly more than capable of handling things while I'm away," he said.
Meckley said town officials and the Sheriff's Office are "committed to making this as seamless as possible and giving the Town of Bel Air, and more importantly, Chief Matrangola, nothing to worry about."
Meckley also said he plans to go back to the Sheriff's Office once Matrangola returns and has no plans to leave the Sheriff's Office. Any career moves he makes if he does eventually leave are a matter of timing, he said.
He said the Harford sheriff oversaw law enforcement in Bel Air before the town's police department was formed, and that deputies helped provide coverage until the Bel Air police reached appropriate staffing levels in the late 1950s and early '60s.
Fielder said Bel Air police officers, as well as their counterparts in Aberdeen and Havre de Grace, work closely with the Sheriff's Office on a variety of activities, including serving on regional and local task forces, and serving warrants, and that deputies and officers will fill in for each other when needed.